Baby’s first breath was to be his last

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A teenage girl who concealed her pregnancy from her family and friends went on to suffocate her baby boy moments after giving birth to him, a court was told yesterday (Monday).

The 16-year-old stuffed a tissue into the tiny baby’s mouth as soon as he produced his first sound, causing him to choke to death.

Lincoln Crown Court was told that the girl went into denial after discovering she was pregnant following a brief relationship with a boy.

She even managed to hide her pregnancy from her own GP and told family and friends she was stressed from the pressure of taking her GCSE exams.

Sally Howes, QC, said the girl gave birth on her own in the bedroom of her home in a village near Bourne.

Miss Howes said: “She cut the umbilical cord with a pair of scissors and placed the baby in a hoodie.

“As the baby drew its first breath and gurgled she pushed a tissue, which she had screwed up into a ball, into his mouth and down into his throat. This blocked his airway. His first breath was to be his last breath.”

The girl told family members that she had suffered a heavy period and because of the amount of blood in the bathroom her mother contacted the NHS 101 helpline.

An ambulance was called to the family’s home and the girl was taken to hospital in Peterborough. It was only after she left for the hospital that her brother and stepfather found the lifeless body of the baby hidden inside a carrier bag. A post mortem examination concluded that the baby died from asphyxia caused by a blockage of the upper airway.

The girl later confessed to a psychiatrist, saying that events seemed unreal and she felt confused after giving birth but did not feel she had anyone she could turn to for help.

And doctors who later examined the teenager concluded that she had been so badly affected by giving birth that the balance of her mind was disturbed.

The girl, who is now 17, admitted a charge of infanticide following the death of the boy on September 4, 2013. She was given a two-year youth rehabilitation order with supervision.

She denied a further charge of perverting the course of justice by making a false complaint of rape against the baby’s father. That matter was left to lie on the file after the prosecution chose not to pursue the matter.

Mrs Justice Thirlwall told her: “You realised you were pregnant. For months you denied it to yourself. You denied it to your mother and you denied it to your GP.

“While studying for your GCSEs you must have been in turmoil about what was going to happen. In the end you couldn’t cope. You closed your eyes to the inevitable. By the time the baby was due you were in complete denial.

“Even now you find it difficult to believe you killed him.”

In mitigation, Karim Khalil QC described the incident as a very sad case.

He said she had detached herself from reality during a traumatic time.