Page last updated at 12:00 GMT, Tuesday, 5 August 2008 13:00 UK

Woman hid dead baby in car boot

Claire Jones
Claire Jones hid the body of her baby son in the boot of her car

A woman who admitted hiding the body of her new born baby in the boot of her car has been given a two-year suspended jail sentence.

Claire Jones, 32, became pregnant after an affair with a work colleague but kept it secret from her partner.

Cardiff Crown Court heard she gave birth to a boy in December 2007. It was unclear if the child "had an existence" after his birth.

Jones, of Cardiff, was sentenced to 48 weeks for concealing the birth.

The court heard Jones, a lab technician for a Swansea firm, gave birth secretly to the baby boy in the bathroom of a house on 28 December.

The house belonged to the parents of her partner David Stoneman where she was staying over the Christmas period.

Double life

The court heard she kept the pregnancy from her partner of 11 years, convincing everyone she was putting on weight due to an allergy.

But she had in fact been leading a "double life" and had been having an affair with Marcus Bezerra, a work colleague, who she said was the baby's father.

During her affair, she told Mr Bezerra she had broken up with Mr Stoneman but was still sharing a house with him due to financial reasons.

Prosecutor Dan Williams said she had told a number of lies to work colleagues including saying she had cancer and told Mr Bezerra her mother had suffered a stroke.

Meanwhile, Mr Bezerra and Jones bought each other engagement rings and they even bought a car seat for their new baby.

She also told him her cancer was in remission.

The court heard how Mr Bezerra told police they were both very excited about having a baby together but she discouraged him from attending any hospital appointments.

On 22 December Mr Bezerra and Jones had a Christmas meal together and she stayed at his home.

The precise circumstances of the birth are known only to the defendant
Dan Williams, prosecutor

She told him she was spending Christmas with her mother but would contact him when the birth started, the court heard.

But Jones spent Christmas at Mr Stoneman's parents' house in Penarth along with her own mother and saw a show on 27 December.

On the same day, she sent Mr Bezerra a text saying her mother had died and she was in a hospice in Pontypool.

The prosecutor said at some time in the morning of 28 December, Jones gave birth to a 7.5 lb (3.4 kg) baby boy in the ground floor toilet of Mr Stoneman's parents' house.

"The precise circumstances of the birth are known only to the defendant," he said.

"The pathologist who carried out a post mortem examination said it was not possible to know whether the baby had an existence."

Concern

The court heard that following the birth, Jones wrapped the baby's body in paper towels and a black bag and put it in the boot of her car.

The court heard that on 3 January, staff at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff became concerned because Jones was overdue.

A midwife spoke to someone who claimed to be the sister-in-law of Jones who told her she had missed an appointment because she had been involved in a car crash and had lost the baby.

However, another midwife was contacted by someone who also said they were related to Jones informing her that Jones was in Sheffield giving birth.

The court heard at around the same period of time, Mr Bezerra received a text from Jones saying: "Our baby son has died, he did not survive the cancer."

Interview

On 5 January, Mr Bezerra went to Swansea police station saying he was worried about his baby and Jones.

She was arrested a day later and admitted hiding the baby's body.

A subsequent search of the house in St Mellons and her car led to the discovery of his body.

In interview, Jones told the police she had wanted the baby: "I had carried it for so long. I was going to have to come clean as soon as the baby was born."

She said she had tried to resuscitate the baby by mouth-to-mouth.

Mr Stoneman was questioned initially but was later released without charge.

Peter Heyward, defending, said Jones had attempted suicide since her deceit had come to light.

Your campaign has had a devastating effect on two young men and their families
Judge John Curran

The court heard she was not suffering from any mental illness but was being treated for severe depression and is in counselling.

Judge John Curran sentenced Jones to 48 weeks in prison, suspended for two years.

"Your campaign has had a devastating effect on two young men and their families. This offence, although rare, is serious. The deception makes it more so," he said.

"I am informed that since this matter came to light you have attempted suicide while suffering from depression and a consultant psychiatrist said it is likely you have a severe personality disorder.

"I do not consider that a immediate imprisonment would be appropriate."

At the end of the hearing, Jones collapsed in the dock and was comforted by court staff.





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