Lincolnshire teenager sentenced for killing newborn son

Lincoln Crown Court.
Lincoln Crown Court.
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A teenager has been sentenced for killing her newborn son.

The 17-year-old, who cannot be named because she is aged under 18, was arrested on September 7, 2013, after police recovered the body of a newborn baby boy from a property in a village near Bourne.

A post mortem examination revealed the baby, who was later named James, died as a result of an obstruction of the airway.

The girl was originally charged by officers with murder.

During a previous hearing the teenager offered a guilty plea to infanticide. She admitted causing his death by pushing a tissue into his throat, causing him to suffocate, while the balance of her mind was disturbed having not fully recovered from the effects of giving birth. This was accepted by the judge, Crown Prosecution Service and police.

At a hearing at Lincoln Crown Court today (Monday), Judge Mrs Justice Thirlwall sentenced the girl to a 24-month youth rehabilitation order combined with a supervision order.

Speaking after sentencing DCI Tony Heydon of East Midlands Special Operations Unit Major Crime said: “The death of baby James is a tragedy that will stay with the family forever. I make no comment on the sentence passed other than to say that it acknowledges that someone has been held accountable for the death.

“The overwhelming feeling from everyone involved in this case is that it should not have happened. The only positive to be drawn is to raise awareness of the help available for teens who fall pregnant and for young mothers. An unexpected pregnancy may be hugely daunting but the best thing you can do is talk to someone you trust, be it your mum or dad, a family member, your teacher or your Doctor.”

“Instances such as this tragic case are very rare and I hope to never see another like it.”

For information about issues involved in the case, visit www.kooth.com - this is a service that provides vulnerable young people, who have emotional or mental health problems, with support when they need it most. It includes online counselling and is a free, confidential, safe and anonymous service supported by health, local authorities and GPs.