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Last Updated: Monday, 3 October 2005, 16:15 GMT 17:15 UK
Attic babies mother is sentenced
Ann Mahoney
Ann Mahoney is driven away from court after sentencing

A former nurse who hid the stillborn remains of three of her babies in attics has been given a 12-month community rehabilitation order.

Ann Mahoney, 64, of Merthyr, a mother of two, admitted concealing the births after the remains of two boys and a girl were found in two houses.

She hid them due to a "misplaced sense of shame and fear of rejection by her family," Merthyr Crown Court heard.

Judge John Curran said: "A custodial sentence would be wrong and unjust."

Her solicitor said she was "relieved the truth is now for all to see".

She decided because of depression and illness and knowing the views of her two daughters and the community that she had to conceal these births
Jennet Treharne, defending
Ieuan Morris, prosecuting, said it was not possible to say when the babies were born, but she claimed it was after 1970, following the birth of her two daughters.

"She claimed she delivered them herself in her own bedroom using her experience as a nurse having worked as she did in maternity units at a local hospital," said Mr Morris.

It came to light when the new owner of her former home on the Gurnos estate looked around the attic and made the "gruesome discovery" of a boy's skeletal remains in a bin liner.

A police investigation was launched, with all former occupiers of the house interviewed. DNA samples were taken which showed a genetic link to Mahoney.

Penyfan View, Gurnos, where the first baby's remains were found
The house in Penyfan View where the first baby's remains were found
Police conducted a search of her new address in Forysthia Close and discovered two further bodies in the attic, one of a girl in a suitcase and a boy's remains in a bag.

Decomposition of all three bodies meant it was impossible to establish if the babies were stillborn or not, said Mr Morris. However, after Mahoney was interviewed by police it was accepted that they were.

'Proud woman'

The court heard how tests showed that the two bodies found in Forsythia Close were likely to have been born during the 1970s, but two dates were given for the first baby found: the early 1960s or the 1980s.

The court also heard that when she was 18 and a trainee nurse she had given birth to a stillborn baby before her two daughters were born.

Mr Morris said Mahoney had given birth to the three attic babies while living at an address in Crabapple Close.

On moving to Penyfan View she took the bodies with her, storing them in the attic, but when she moved to Forsythia Close she simply forgot to take one of them with her.

Jennet Treharne, defending, said Mahoney had suffered depression.

"She was a single mother and a proud woman.

"She is clearly suffering from the grief of losing the children. She is relieved the truth is now for all to see."

Terence Benns, who knew her through their work in the residents' association, told the court she was instrumental in setting up sporting facilities for children on the estate.

Mahoney had been living in a bail hostel in England since her arrest and was banned from entering Wales unless to attend hearings, but the court heard that she wanted to resume her life in Merthyr

Secret babies of a public mother
03 Oct 05 |  South East Wales

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