A MAJOR enquiry has been launched into the death of a young boy who died in a car inferno started by his mentally ill mum, the Hampshire Chronicle can reveal.

Social workers last night confirmed there will a serious case review into whether anything could have been done to prevent the death of Tommy Sheldon – the five-year-old who died from severe burns after his mum Teresa torched the car he was in.

The tragedy came just a month after social services visited her at home, where the troubled mum told them she believed her ex-husband was trying to kill her.

As reported yesterday, the 38-year-old, then of Kathleen Road, Sholing, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and arson at Winchester Crown Court on Tuesday, following the tragic death of little Tommy at the Bristol burns unit on August 25.

She drove out to Merdon Castle Lane, in Hursley, where she doused her Ford Fiesta in petrol and set it alight.

The court was told she’d also spoken to her GP about her low mood beforehand.

Yet no health officials or social workers took action following her depressive mood swings on the basis there was “no reason for the intervention of medical services” and her “mental state wasn’t picked up”, as the judge, Mr Justice Dingemans concluded.

In the months leading to the incident her mental health had “significantly deteriorated” after it emerged she and her then husband, Ross, were getting divorced and she grew worried Mr Sheldon would gain custody, the court heard.

Social services and health officials have remained tight-lipped about why more wasn’t done, considering Sheldon’s mental state of health, who even went missing three days before the tragic event for several hours, sparking a manhunt by her family, after which she was found and described as behaving “bizarre”.

When asked why more wasn’t done to protect Tommy or Sheldon herself, social services refused to answer, simply saying: “There is nothing to suggest that any agency could have predicted that this would have happened.”

Last night a Southampton City Council spokesman added: “The Southampton Local Safeguarding Children Board is conducting a Serious Case Review following the tragic death of this young child. "We cannot make any further comment at this time.

“This was a tragic and horrific incident, and our thoughts remain with Tommy’s family and friends."

It was revealed during the hearing her bouts of depression had caused her to have “delusional beliefs” that her phone was being tapped.

She’d previously tried to commit suicide and even claimed her ex-husband was trying to kill her - allegations which resulted in social services paying her a visit on July 15, whereby she showed them her head board believing they were covered in slash marks.

Her allegations were investigated by social services as well as police but were found to have no substance.

Pathology reports showed traces of sertraline in Tommy’s bloody – the same antidepressants Sheldon had been prescribed for a “recurrent mental disorder”.

The judge agreed prison would not be in the best interest due to her “recurrent mental disorder”, which had “warped [her] perspectives on life”, and sentenced her under the Mental Health Act.

“I also note your previous good character,” he said. “On the other hand the harm that you have caused could not have been higher. I’m satisfied you were suffering from a mental disorder and that medical treatment is available because you’re still suffering from an episode and you need to receive treatment.

“It’s apparent you suffered a severe depressive episode with psychotic tendencies at the time of the killing,” he’d said. “You and Mr Sheldon had separated and, although it was initially amicable, you developed depressive symptoms following the serving of divorce papers.

"That affected your ability to know what you were doing.

"You went missing on the eighth of August, some three days before, and you were searched for. When you were found your behaviour was noticed to be bizarre.”