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12 October 2010, 17:04
A 16-year-old girl stabbed her newborn baby to death while in shock after giving birth without realising she had been pregnant.
The girl, who's now 17, admitted killing the baby at Winchester Crown Court today.
The court was told that the dead baby was found by a cleaner in a rubbish bin at Fleet railway station, North Hampshire, wrapped in towels and several bags on May 26.
Kerry Maylin, prosecuting, told the court that the baby had suffered 27 stab wounds, many of them superficial injuries, caused by a pen knife with a 3cm blade.
She said that the young mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was traced by a distinctive bag used to contain the body which was recognised by the girl's parents.
Ms Maylin said:
"The parents acted with great composure by telephoning the police and taking their daughter to hospital to ensure she got appropriate medical attention.''
She said that the teenager, who was supported by her parents in court, told police in interview that she had not known that she had been pregnant.
"She appeared to have been genuinely unaware of her pregnancy, she had no real criminal intent and her actions were driven out of panic and emotional and physical shock.''
Laura Brickman, defending, said:
"She wishes to make clear the profound shame and horror she feels at having committed this offence.''
"This incident is one she will never forget, as time progresses her memory may not fade and become more vivid.
"The concern is if she were to give birth again, her memories may come back again and there may be need for psychiatric assistance.''
The judge, Mr Justice John Royce, sentenced the girl, who was not required to sit in the dock during the hearing, to a 12-month community supervision and youth rehabilitation order.
He told her:
"At the age of 16 you became pregnant but you were not aware of that and you gave birth in what must have been thoroughly frightening circumstances and whilst the balance of your mind was disturbed, you killed your baby.
"You have to live with that and that is a heavy burden to carry.
"But the law recognises that people in a similar predicament do, on occasions, kill their offspring while the balance of their mind is disturbed.
"The law recognises it is important for the court to act in a constructive way and mercifully rather than concentrate on the punishment.
"You are fortunate that you have two totally supportive parents."