A single mother who falsely claimed raiders tied her up and started a fire in which her four-month-old son died walked free from court yesterday.

Danielle Wails (22) received three years probation, after admitting killing her son. She told police she was tied up by intruders who set her flat ablaze last year.

Following the fire on August 28, police launched a manhunt for the two men who she falsely claimed had attacked her in the twobedroomed terrace house and then tied her up with telephone cord. She told detectives she had been knocked unconscious and when she awoke, the lounge, where her son was, was alight.

She said she used her tongue to dial 999 and shouted through the letterbox to neighbours, begging them to save Alexander.

Wails, who had split from the baby's father, Robert Gallon, after a series of rows, was living in accommodation provided by a charity which helps single mothers. But her story, which included claims that she called 999 using her tongue, unravelled and she was charged with little Alexander Gallon's murder.

On the first day of the trial at Newcastle Crown Court in August, Wails' guilty plea to the lesser charge of infanticide was accepted after two psychiatrists agreed she was suffering from postnatal depression and that the balance of her mind was disturbed at the time of the tragedy.

Consultant psychiatrist Adrian East told the court he was satisfied Wails was suffering from postnatal depression and had been diagnosed with the symptoms in the months before the killing.

The court heard that Wails had claimed she was not being supported by health and social services staff before the tragedy, but records showed she had missed appointments and that efforts to contact her had proved futile.

After Alexander's death, it emerged Wails had been bombarding Mr Gallon and his family with phone calls and text messages in a futile bid to reconcile their relationship.

Wails lied to people that Alexander was ill and needed hospital treatment. In the months before her son's death, she also told friends she had been attacked in Newcastle city centre and had lost twins and triplets.