Bristol

Claudia Martins guilty of killing newborn daughter

Claudia Martins, of Knowle, Bristol accused of murdering her newborn baby Image copyright other
Image caption Claudia Martins told Bristol Crown Court she hid her daughter's body in a suitcase out of fear and panic

A mother who hid her newborn baby daughter's body in a suitcase has been found guilty of manslaughter.

Claudia Martins, who lived with her sister Vilma in Bristol, had denied killing the baby by filling her mouth with toilet paper, shortly after birth.

Martins admitted she had given birth but said the baby was stillborn.

The jury at Bristol Crown Court found Martins not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter with diminished responsibility.

The court earlier heard the 32-year-old gave birth alone on 12 September last year, having allegedly kept the pregnancy a secret.

Paramedics were called after friends found the Portuguese national sitting in the bath with "a lot of blood" and she was taken to hospital.

Following the birth, paramedics and police were called to the home but Martins had already been taken to hospital.

When officers visited the flat three days later they discovered the body of a newborn baby inside a small, black suitcase and Martins, described as having an extremely low IQ, was arrested.

Image copyright other
Image caption The baby's body was found in a suitcase with tissue put in her mouth

A post-mortem examination found the baby was full-term and normally formed, with no evidence of disease to account for death.

But the Home Office doctor who examined the body told the jury it had not been possible to determine definitively whether the baby was stillborn or born alive, due to the degree of decomposition.

An Avon and Somerset Police spokesman said the death of a baby is "always a tragedy" but the "unique circumstances" of the case made it "particularly emotive" for everyone involved.

"Our thoughts are very much with the victim's wider family as they are struggling to comprehend how and why this tragedy happened," he added.

More on this story

Related Internet links

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