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Mother, 17, admits child cruelty after pouring bleach in mouth of newborn baby

Published 12/01/2016

The Old Bailey heard evidence that the girl was in
The Old Bailey heard evidence that the girl was in "acute distress"

A 17-year-old girl has admitted poured bleach into the mouth of her baby just moments after giving birth in secret.

The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, kept her pregnancy from her parents and on August 10 last year, the little boy was born unaided in the bathroom of her family home.

Within "minutes or even moments", she poured domestic bleach into the mouth of her newly born child, prosecutor Edward Brown QC told the Old Bailey.

The child was badly scalded in the mouth and lips by the toxic chemicals but survived following hospital treatment.

The girl, from west London, was charged with attempted murder but at a hearing today, the prosecution accepted a guilty plea to a second lesser charge of child cruelty.

Mr Brown told the court that the decision was based on two psychiatric reports as well as consideration of the defendant's young age and background.

The defendant had told Dr Philip Joseph that she was in a "state of shock and panic" following the birth of the baby and poured "a small amount" of bleach into his mouth knowing it was wrong.

Dr Joseph wrote: "On that basis I conclude that even if she was suffering from an acute stress reaction, it was not of such severity that she was legally insane at the material time.

"Within a few seconds of applying the bleach the defendant states that she realised what she had done and tried to wipe it away. Shortly afterwards her aunt came into the bathroom and the defendant does not know what she would have done if her aunt had not come in.

"Although I suggested to the defendant that at the time she applied the bleach to the baby, she was intending to kill it in order to dispose of it, she rejected that suggestion."

The psychiatrist found that while she was not legally insane she may had been in a "daze" - or suffering a acute stress reaction - which cast doubt on the intent required for attempted murder.

A second specialist, Dr Alison Wenzerul, found the defendant, who is a Muslim, was in a state of "acute distress" and was "unlikely to have been in a state of mind to clearly consider what she was doing to the baby".

Mr Brown said the Crown did not accept the girl's claim that she only put "a drop" of bleach in her baby's mouth.

He said: "Where the defendant accepts putting a drop of bleach on the baby's mouth, the Crown do not accept that element of the case.

"The medical evidence is that over, albeit a very small bodily area, the extent of the damage to the mouth and lips indicated it must have been more than a drop.

"However we also acknowledge there was no damage to the throat area of the child which tends to suggest it cannot have been very much bleach."

Sentencing was adjourned until a date to be fixed in February at Isleworth Crown Court.

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