Claudia Martins given community order for killing newborn

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 killed her newborn baby daughter by filling her mouth with toilet paper has been spared jail.

Claudia Martins denied killing her baby and hiding the body in a suitcase shortly after giving birth to her at her sister's flat in Bristol.

She claimed the baby was stillborn, but was found guilty of manslaughter with diminished responsibility.

At Winchester Crown Court, she was sentenced to a community order for two years with a supervision requirement.

During her trial at Bristol Crown Court, the jury heard the 33-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, of Marshall Walk, Knowle, sitting in the bath with "a lot of blood" and she was taken to hospital.

Three days later, police were called to the flat following reports of a smell and discovered the body of a newborn baby inside a small, black suitcase.

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

The court was told that despite the symptoms of pregnancy, the mother-of-five had not accepted she was pregnant and the birth had induced a "great panic".

Judge Mr Justice Teare said she suffered from a mental abnormality, arising from a condition known as a pathological denial of pregnancy.

Her actions were "wholly out of character" and her "intellectual disability" had probably contributed to her condition, he added.

"Why you developed the pathological denial of pregnancy is unclear but it is likely to be the result of living with two of your children in very cramped conditions in a foreign country," the judge told the court.

"Having regard to the fact that you suffered from an abnormality of mental function this does not require a custodial sentence."

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