Teen Mum Hid Dead Baby in Shoebox
A Keighley teenager hid a newborn baby in a shoebox under her bed in a bid to conceal the birth, a court heard.
The woman was fearful what her family might do if her pregnancy was discovered.
When the tiny corpse was found the 19-year-old falsely told police that she had been raped by two men in an alleyway - a story she later retracted.The woman fought in court to have her identity kept secret, but judges have ruled she can be named on Friday.
Judges at the Court of Appeal, including the Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, ruled that a coroner in Bradford was correct to deny anonymity to the woman and her family following the baby’s death in 2013.
The baby was born on February 27 and the woman placed it in a shoebox under her bed without checking whether it was alive or its sex.
Her mother discovered the baby’s body on March 2 after noticing a bad smell in the bedroom and put it in the boot of her car.
They took the body in a shoebox to A&E at Airedale General Hospital three days later.
Prosecutors decided not to bring criminal charges because of the difficulty establishing whether the baby was alive when it was born.
In her application to the High Court the woman claimed she risked being forcibly taken to Pakistan and “married off” if the community in her home town found out about the liaison.
An inquest was opened at Bradford Coroner’s Court on August 2014. Later that year, her solicitors said they would be applying for an anonymity order for her, a request that was rejected in a written judgement by a coroner in September 2015.
According to the Court of Appeal judgement, a statement from the woman claimed she had since moved away from Keighley to another town, as she was scared “a member of my family would find out and not knowing if they would do something to harm me”.
She said: “I have a lot of immediate family who live in Keighley and they are not nice people. If they were to find out, they would most definitely harm me or ensure I go to Pakistan to get married because in their view I will have brought shame on the family.”
She also claimed she had received abusive text messages threatening to kill her.
The High Court judges wrote in their ruling: “The claimant has never produced any corroborating evidence of the abusive text messages and has not identified the senders.”
Her aunt said in a statement that the story had not been picked up by the Asian Press but feared the community would want to ensure her niece was “taught a lesson”.
Before the Court of Appeal judgement, her solicitors argued that the coroner did not have the power to open an inquest into a child’s death unless he was able to say that the child was probably born alive, rather than stillborn. But this argument was rejected by judges.
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- Keighley Local News