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Jail cut for woman who aborted baby

A woman jailed for eight years after aborting her unborn baby within a week of her due date has had her sentence reduced to three-and-a-half years.

Sarah Catt, 36, from Sherburn-in-Elmet, North Yorkshire, who was married but had been having an affair for seven years, was around 40 weeks pregnant when she took drugs she bought on the internet to induce her labour.

She claimed the baby was stillborn and buried his body - but has not revealed its whereabouts.

Mr Justice Cooke, sentencing her at Leeds Crown Court last September, said the seriousness of the crime lay between manslaughter and murder.

He said she would have been charged with murder if the baby had been born a few days later and she had then killed him. Catt pleaded guilty to administering a poison with intent to procure a miscarriage.

Lady Justice Rafferty, heading a panel of three judges in the Court of Appeal, said it was an extraordinarily difficult sentencing exercise, but the term was manifestly excessive.

Catt sobbed in the dock throughout the hearing in London.

Lady Justice Rafferty said that Catt's complicated obstetric history, which involved adoption, seeking termination and concealment of pregnancy, threw up a "potential for disturbance, personal misery and long lasting difficulty".

Catt, who was described at her trial as "cold and calculating", had no relevant previous convictions and a psychiatric report excluded mental disorder.

Lady Justice Rafferty referred to a letter of "remarkable restraint, dignity and loyalty" from Catt's husband, which spoke of his hope that the couple and their two young children could stay together as a family.

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