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Teenagers cleared of murdering baby

PUBLISHED: 09:33 12 August 2008 | UPDATED: 10:36 12 July 2010

A teenage girl wept with relief yesterday after she and her boyfriend were cleared of murdering their newborn baby.

The 16-year-old girl and the 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were accused of murdering the child in October last year.

A teenage girl wept with relief yesterday after she and her boyfriend were cleared of murdering their newborn baby.

The 16-year-old girl and the 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were accused of murdering the child in October last year.

A jury took more than 17 hours to reach not-guilty verdicts for both teenagers following a trial spanning four weeks at Ipswich Crown Court.

During the trial it was alleged that the pair killed their newborn baby hours after a secret birth.

Post-mortem tests revealed that the baby boy had a fractured skull which caused serious brain damage and a fractured upper right arm, neither of which could have been caused accidentally, said the prosecution.

The court heard that the pair met over the internet in 2006 and by the time the girl was 14 they were sharing a bed at her parents' house in the Eye area of Suffolk.

The girl was 15 when she gave birth alone in a downstairs toilet at her parents' home, jurors were told.

In the witness box, the girl said she realised in August last year that she was pregnant but had not told her parents.

She said the pregnancy was never obvious as she did not have a bump and she left notes in her bedroom hoping that her mother would find out.

She said that on the night of October 6 last year, she had a bad stomach ache and had complained to her parents that she was not feeling very well.

They advised her to take some painkillers.

The court heard that the girl's mother had sent her daughter away “with a flea in her ear” moments before the girl gave birth.

The woman said she was in bed in a heavy sleep after drinking wine when her daughter burst in and said she was suffering from severe stomach pains.

The girl told the court that during the night, she had given birth to a little boy in a ground-floor toilet.

Having cut the baby's umbilical cord with a pair of kitchen scissors, she had taken him outside and left him in a garden shed while she went upstairs to wake her boyfriend.

She claimed her boyfriend later took the child away and when he returned, allegedly told her: “He's gone. I've smashed the baby's head.”

But the boy claimed the first he knew about the baby's birth was when his girlfriend woke him up and told him she had had a little boy but he was dead.

He admitted repeatedly changing his story about what happened after the baby's birth but said it was to protect his girlfriend because he suspected her of harming the child.

During his summing up, Judge John Devaux said the pair were running a cut-throat defence with each blaming the other.

Speaking after the verdicts were delivered, Judge Devaux thanked the jury for its patience.

He said: “It is sad to see two young people charged with the murder of a baby. These are always difficult cases.”


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