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Woman jailed for eight years after aborting full-term baby

By Emma Bamford

A woman has been jailed for eight years after taking drugs to abort her baby just days before it was due.

Mother-of-two Sarah Catt took a drug which she bought on the internet to induce her labour.

Catt told a psychiatrist she had taken the drug while her husband was away and delivered the baby boy, who was not breathing or moving, by herself at home. A court heard she wanted to terminate the pregnancy because she believed the father of the child was her lover of seven years, rather than her husband. She had previously tried to have an abortion at a Marie Stopes clinic, but was refused as she was five weeks beyond the legal limit of 24 weeks.

Catt, 35, from Sherburn-in-Elmet, North Yorkshire, pleaded guilty earlier this year to administering a poison with intent to procure a miscarriage.

Yesterday she was jailed at Leeds Crown Court by Mr Justice Cooke, who said she would have been charged with murder if the baby had been born a few days later and she had then killed him. The court heard she had previously given a baby up for adoption and terminated another pregnancy with the agreement of her husband. She also concealed a fourth pregnancy from her husband before the child's birth. After being turned away by Marie Stopes in March 2012, she made several searches on the internet about illegal abortions and abortion drugs, including: "Where can I get an illegal abortion?" and "Inducing an abortion at 30 weeks", the court heard.

She bought drugs online from a company in Mumbai in April 2010 and it is thought she took them around May 26. She said she buried the body but would not tell police where.

Frances Oldham QC, mitigating, described the case as "highly unusual" and said Catt was a "supportive and loving mother" to her two children and was sorry for her actions.

Mr Justice Cooke told her: "What you have done is rob an apparently healthy child, vulnerable and defenceless, of the life which he was about to commence."

Chief Inspector Kerrin Smith, of North Yorkshire Police, said: "Catt has proved to be cold and calculating, and has shown no remorse or given an explanation for what she did, lying to the police, health professionals and her family throughout the investigation."

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