Leicester

Hannah Cobley: Mum 'killed newborn in chilling act'

Hannah Cobley Image copyright PA
Image caption Hannah Cobley denies murder and claims the baby was stillborn

A woman silenced her newborn by forcing something down her throat before wrapping her in plastic bags and leaving her to die, a court heard.

Prosecutors allege Hannah Cobley left the baby in an overgrown area at a Leicestershire farm where she lived with her parents.

She later searched the internet to find out how long a newborn could "survive without being fed", jurors were told.

Ms Cobley, 29, denies murder at Leicester Crown Court.

Post-mortem examinations revealed the baby had suffered three skull fractures, surviving her injuries for two hours before dying, prosecutor Jonas Hankin QC said.

Ms Cobley, whose father owns a transport business and also keeps livestock on the farm in Stoney Stanton, denies murdering the child in the early hours of April 26, 2017.

'Concealed pregnancy'

The defendant, who left grammar school aged 15 and has worked as a driver for her father's firm, claims her recollection is that the baby was stillborn.

Opening the case, Mr Hankin said: "This case concerns the death of a newborn baby girl following a concealed pregnancy and a clandestine or hidden birth.

"Neither the father of the child, whose identity is unknown, nor the mother's family and friends were aware of the pregnancy, which was the product of a consensual one-night stand."

He said the defendant's mother described her in a police interview as "very devious".

Mr Hankin said the infant was born between 02:00 and 02:45 into the bowl of an outside toilet at the farm.

Chilling clarity of purpose

He told the jury: "Ms Cobley gave birth to a living child. Although premature at 32 weeks' gestation - roughly seven months - she was a normal healthy baby.

"If Ms Cobley had brought her pregnancy to the attention of midwife care prior to the delivery, she would most likely have ensured that her baby was delivered in good condition."

Mr Hankin added: "Ms Cobley did nothing to ensure her baby lived. On the contrary, the prosecution case is that Ms Cobley, with chilling clarity of purpose, deliberately and intentionally killed her baby."

The court heard after the birth the defendant went on a trip to Skegness with her aunt and "acted normally" until she collapsed three days later because of a haemorrhage.

Medical staff at Leicester Royal Infimary became aware of Ms Cobley's pregnancy and alerted police concerned about the absence of a baby.

Mr Hankin said the defendant eventually admitted to her father about giving birth in the toilet but said the baby was already dead and she had hidden her "in a panic" behind a shed.

The trial continues.

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