Page last updated at 18:07 GMT, Monday, 24 November 2008

Mother 'flushed baby by accident'

Claire Jones
Claire Jones was given a suspended jail sentence for concealing the birth

A mother told an inquest she did not know she had given birth until flushing her baby down a toilet by accident.

Claire Jones, 32, became pregnant after an affair with a work colleague but hid her condition from friends and family.

After "panicking" in the toilet at her partner's parents' home in Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan, she hid the baby in her car boot, where police found it.

Recording a narrative verdict, Cardiff Coroner Mary Hassell said Ms Jones had built up a "web of deception".

The hearing was told Ms Jones, of Pontnewydd, Cwmbran, did not reveal her pregnancy, telling friends and family, including David Stoneman, her partner of 11 years, that a wheat allergy had caused a hard mass to form in her stomach.

I wish I had done something more, but I just panicked - I miss him every day
Claire Jones

But on 28 December last year, a week after her due date, she experienced pains which she put down to diarrhoea.

She told the inquest: "While I was still on the toilet, I flushed it, and I felt something pull. I stood up slightly, and I could see a foot in the bowl of the toilet."

Cardiff Coroner Mary Hassell asked Ms Jones if she realised she had given birth. Ms Jones replied: "No".

She said the baby was underneath the water covered in toilet paper.

Ms Jones broke down as she said: "I could see the baby's foot, so I pulled the baby out.


"I sat by the toilet. I put him on my lap. He wasn't crying. I was trying to feel for a pulse and there was nothing."

Ms Jones was asked why she did not call for help. She said: "Because nobody knew I was pregnant. Because he wasn't breathing, I just panicked. I didn't know what to do."

She said she tried to revive him by blowing into his mouth and massaging his heart.

She said: "I just kept trying and trying, and it wasn't working. There was nothing I could do. He was blue.

David Stoneman and Marcus Bezerra
David Stoneman, who was Claire Jones' partner, and Marcus Bezerra (right) her work colleague

"I wrapped him in a towel. I don't remember how, but I must have put him in the boot of the car."

The inquest heard Ms Jones was arrested 10 days later at the home in St Mellons, Cardiff, she shared with Mr Stoneman, and Daniel's body was found in her Vauxhall Astra car.

A post-mortem examination found Daniel weighed seven-and-a-half pounds (3.4kg) , but could not confirm if he died before or after birth.

Pathologist Andrew Davison said Daniel was likely to have drowned if he had survived the birth.

Ms Jones said she "blocked out" what happened, and did not remember Daniel was in her car until police arrested her.

Following a trial at Cardiff Crown Court in August, she was given a 48 weeks' suspended jail sentence for concealing the baby's birth.

She told the inquest: "I wish I had done something more, but I just panicked. I miss him every day."


She said she planned to leave Mr Stoneman, and her work colleague Marcus Bezerra, who was aware of the pregnancy, bought items for the baby in preparation for his birth.

When asked why she did not leave Mr Stoneman before the baby was due, she replied: "Things had got in such a mess with the two relationships. I didn't want to hurt anybody. I just messed everything up."

Ms Hassell said Ms Jones had manufactured "a tissue of lies" and dismissed as "beyond belief" Ms Jones' claim about not knowing if she had given birth.

She said: "It is impossible to know if Daniel would have survived if Ms Jones, who had her mobile telephone with her in the toilet, had called for help.


"The house was full of people who, I have no doubt, would have rushed to her aid. She did not seek medical attention for herself or for her baby."

Ms Hassell said she was "sad" to see the distress suffered by so many people as a result of Daniel's death.

She said: "If Daniel was stillborn, it is not possible to say why he did not survive.

"If he was born alive, the most likely reason for his death was drowning in the toilet bowl."

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