Sarah Catt jailed for full-term abortion of baby
- 17 September 2012
- From the section York & North Yorkshire
A woman who aborted her own baby in the final phase of her pregnancy has been jailed for eight years.
Sarah Louise Catt, 35, of Sherburn-in-Elmet, North Yorkshire, took a drug when she was full term, 39 weeks pregnant, to cause an early delivery.
She claimed the boy was stillborn and that she buried his body, but no evidence of the child was ever found.
Catt made a "deliberate and calculated decision" to end her pregnancy, a Leeds Crown Court judge said.
Catt, who already had two children with her husband, had a scan at 30 weeks confirming her pregnancy at a hospital in Leeds, the court heard.
Suspicions were raised when she failed to register the birth weeks later.
Catt had been having an affair with a work colleague for seven years, the judge was told.
The court heard her husband was unaware of the pregnancy and was not consulted about her decision to have an abortion.
She maintained she had a legitimate abortion at a clinic in Manchester.
But analysis of her computer revealed she had purchased over the internet a drug which can induce labour, from a company in Mumbai, India.
The defendant pleaded guilty in July to administering a poison with intent to procure a miscarriage.
She told a psychiatrist she had taken the drug while her husband was away and delivered the baby boy by herself at home.
Catt said the child was not breathing or moving and that she had buried his body, but did not reveal the location.
The defendant gave a child up for adoption in 1999, the court was told.
She later had a termination with the agreement of her husband, tried to terminate another pregnancy but missed the legal limit and concealed another pregnancy from her husband before the child's birth.
Mr Justice Cooke said Catt had robbed the baby of the life it was about to have and said the seriousness of the crime lay between manslaughter and murder.
Sentencing, the judge told Catt she clearly thought the man with whom she was having an affair was the father and she had shown no remorse.
Ch Insp Kerrin Smith, who led the North Yorkshire Police investigation, said the case was "unusual, disturbing and very complicated".
Catt had proved to be "more than capable of being extremely deceitful in her actions", said Ch Insp Smith.
"Catt has proved to be cold and calculating and has shown no remorse or given an explanation for what she did."