Woman guilty of murdering newborn

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Hannah Cobley from Stoney Stanton

A woman found guilty of murdering her newborn baby girl, born early at 32 weeks, has been jailed for life.

29-year-old Hannah Cobley was convicted of the murder of the baby girl, born at 32-weeks, following a four-week trial at Leicester Crown Court. She will serve a minimum of 18 years in prison, although the Judge told her she may never be released. 

The body of the baby was found by police outside at the property where Cobley was living, in Stoney Stanton, Leicestershire, on Sunday 30 April, 2017.

The baby had been born on Wednesday 26 April, 2017.

The court heard that Cobley, of Broughton Road, Stoney Stanton, had been taken to hospital after falling ill on 29 April 2017.

A medical examination at the hospital discovered that Cobley had been pregnant but she continued to deny any knowledge of and the police were contacted. A search of her home was carried out by police as a result.

Cobley later admitted to a relative that she had given birth to a baby in an outdoor toilet. She said the baby had not moved, so she had wrapped her in a plastic bag and placed her on disused ground behind a shed at the property. This information was passed onto the police and following a further search, the body of the baby was found.

An early examination carried out on the baby girl determined that she had been alive. It also showed she had suffered three skull fractures, that there had been an indication of an object forced into her throat and she had suffered from various cuts and bruises.

Cobley was interviewed in which she said she had given birth and that the baby was not crying or moving. She said she had then put the baby into a plastic bag and placed the baby in the garden. She said she had not done anything to check if the baby was alive and denied doing anything which could have caused harm to the baby.

As part of the investigation, Cobley’s mobile phone was examined. This showed searches had been carried out which included searches relating to pregnancy, a ’32 week baby’, ‘signs of stillbirth’, how long a baby can survive without being fed and what happens when a newborn baby is dropped.

Following further enquiries, Cobley was interviewed again in August last year in which she denied carrying out any actions, accidental or otherwise, that might have led to the injuries suffered by the baby.

She was charged with the murder of the baby girl in September last year.

Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Inspector Jon Blockley said: “This is an extremely sad and tragic case which has resulted in the death of a newborn baby girl, born at 32-weeks. Hannah Cobley had previously denied being responsible for her baby’s death but, following this investigation, has today been found guilty of murder.

“Cobley could have sought help from her own family or professionals but instead took actions into her own hands. This decision meant a newborn baby girl was denied her life.

“My thoughts remain with all those affected and I want to thank everyone who assisted in this investigation providing information as well as to all the police officers and staff who worked tirelessly on such a devastating case.”

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