The dad of a toddler who is thought to have survived for four days without food or water after his mother suddenly died has said it is a ‘miracle’ his son is still alive.
Eric Nnanna has spoken out for the first time after his partner, Mercy Baguma, was found dead in the hallway of her Glasgow flat with her son, Adriel, 1, alone in his cot nearby.
Although the circumstances of the death are still unknown, the case has sparked fierce criticism of the UK’s asylum system with a charity saying the mother and son were living in ‘extreme poverty.’
Speaking to the Glasgow Times, Eric, 30, said he’d last seen Mercy, 34, on Tuesday, August 18, and was expecting her to move to a new flat the following day.
When he didn’t hear from her, he went around to her old flat in Govan on Thursday, August 20, and knocked on the door for an hour with no response.
He assumed she had left the property but went back to the flat a second time on Saturday, August 22, and heard his son crying through the door.
At this point he called emergency services and police officers forced their way inside.
Eric told the Glasgow Times: ‘When they opened the door they said I shouldn’t come into the flat.
‘They said they saw Mercy’s body lying in her hallway and Adriel was in his cot. He was found there by them.
‘Adriel… when my mind takes me back there I cry. I don’t know how to express that.
‘Because obviously, imagine that she died on the Tuesday night, so Adriel didn’t have food or water or anything from that Tuesday night until that Saturday morning when he was found, so…’
He said his son ‘couldn’t even recognise me’ when he held him. ‘It is a miracle he survived,’ he added.
Mercy, who was originally from Uganda, had ambitions to join the police force but was unable to work after losing her ‘leave to remain’ in the UK.
She lived off £35 a week from the Government and sought extra help from local charities and church groups.
Eric said he wanted to correct some reports about Mercy, including claims she was starving at the time of her death.
He said there was ‘a lot of fake news going around’, adding: ‘Asylum seekers and refugees do not get a lot of support from the Government but there are charities that help.’
The death has sparked calls for reform of the asylum system in the UK.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was ‘consumed with sadness’ and anger at the death and said ‘wholesale reform’ of the asylum system is needed, starting from ‘the principle of dignity, of empathy and of support for our fellow human beings’.
The Home Office said it will be investigating Mercy’s case.
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