[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 April 2006, 12:52 GMT 13:52 UK
Probation for infant death mother
Beverley West
Beverley West had kept the childbirth a secret
A young mother who smothered her newborn son after giving birth in secret has been put on probation.

Beverley West, 21, had previously told her boyfriend she had undergone a termination and also kept the secret from her parents.

She admitted the culpable homicide of the infant at her parents' house in Portessie, Buckie, on 19 March, 2005.

A court heard West had psychological problems. She was given three years' probation and community service.

At a previous hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh, the Crown had accepted that West suffered from a number of problems, including "avoidant personality disorder", anxiety, agoraphobia and panic attacks.


Most computers will open this document automatically, but you may need Adobe Reader

Passing sentence on Wednesday, judge Lord Hodge told West she had "violated" the sanctity of life by killing her baby.

However, taking into account her denial of the pregnancy, Lord Hodge said: "This disorder significantly reduced your culpability.

"This suggests that you were not able to control your actions as a normal adult would at the time you committed the offence."

The judge said he also took into account the absence of previous convictions and West's early guilty plea to culpable homicide.

He told her: "What you have done would normally give rise to a substantial prison sentence as it is a very serious crime.

"I'm satisfied that it would not be in your interest or the public interest to send you to prison where you would not be able to receive the treatment you are getting."

Baggy clothes

Alongside the probation, West must do 240 hours community service.

The court heard that West's case was referred to Scottish ministers and she would be monitored if she should become pregnant again in the future.

West and her boyfriend had agreed that she should have an abortion and neither of them told their parents what had happened.

By the time she went to see her doctor she was too late to have an abortion. She failed to keep appointments with midwives and wore baggy clothes to hide the pregnancy.

Police and social workers were alerted after West failed to attend her local health centre and she eventually confessed to killing the baby.

The infant's boy was found in a wardrobe wrapped in pyjamas.

Mother admits smothering her baby
15 Mar 06 |  Scotland

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific