Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Teenage mother of baby found at Fleet station sentenced

Fleet train station with police tape
Image caption The teenager was traced by a distinctive bag used to contain the body

A 16-year-old stabbed her newborn baby to death while in shock after giving birth without realising she had been pregnant, a court has heard.

The baby was found in a rubbish bin at Fleet railway station, wrapped in towels and several bags on 26 May.

Winchester Crown Court heard the baby had suffered 27 stab wounds caused by a penknife.

The girl, now aged 17, who had admitted infanticide, was sentenced to a 12-month community supervision order.

The young mother, who cannot be named because of her age, was also sentenced to a youth rehabilitation order.

She was not required to sit in the dock during the hearing earlier.

'Heavy burden'

Sentencing, Judge Mr Justice John Royce, said the girl must have given birth in "thoroughly frightening circumstances".

"You have to live with that and that is a heavy burden to carry," he said.

"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."

Kerry Maylin, prosecuting, told the court the baby had suffered 27 stab wounds, many of them superficial injuries, caused by a pen knife with a 3cm blade.

'Shame and horror'

She said the teenager, who was also sentenced to a youth rehabilitation order, 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 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."

Defending, Laura Brickman said the girl wanted to make clear "the profound shame and horror" she felt at having committed the offence.

"This incident is one she will never forget, as time progresses her memory may not fade and become more vivid," she added.

"The concern is if she were to give birth again, her memories may come back again and there may be need for psychiatric assistance."

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