Lancashire

Mother 'has no memory of killing baby' in Burnley flat

Wellington Court Image copyright Google
Image caption Police found baby Mia Kelly's body in the kitchen bin at a flat in Wellington Court, Burnley

A mother has accepted stabbing her newborn baby to death with a pair of scissors, but told a jury she had no memory of doing so.

Rachel Tunstill, 26, allegedly murdered Mia Kelly after giving birth in the bathroom then placed her in carrier bags before dumping her body in a bin.

She said her recollection of events at her flat in Burnley, Lancashire, on 14 January were "very hazy" and "unclear".

Ms Tunstill, appearing at Preston Crown Court, denies murder.

Ms Tunstill discovered three days before giving birth that she was pregnant and thought she was having a miscarriage at the flat she shared with her partner.

She told the court she checked the baby for signs of life in the bathroom, but found none.

'Blood on scissors'

The psychology graduate recalled asking her boyfriend, forklift driver Ryan Kelly, to fetch a pair of scissors in case she needed to cut the cord.

Her barrister, Simon Kealey QC, asked: "Do you recall what you did, if anything, with the scissors?"

Ms Tunstill replied: "I don't recall doing anything with the scissors apart from putting them on the side."

She agreed she was alone in the bathroom when the baby was born and replied "yes" when asked whether she accepted Mia died from stab wounds.

Her barrister said: "Do you accept it can only be you?"

"Yes," Ms Tunstill replied.

Mr Kealey asked: "Do you have any recollection of doing it?"

Ms Tunstill, of Wellington Court, Burnley, a deputy manager at a local residential home for people with mental health issues, said: "No, absolutely none."

The court heard police were called to Burnley General Hospital on 16 January following an examination by medical staff.

A post-mortem examination found in excess of 15 puncture wounds on Mia's body, with traces of her blood found on the rivet of the scissors.

The court heard Ms Tunstill had been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome as a child and that her mother and sister had suffered from mental ill-health in the past.

She said she began to hear voices in 2016 but had not told anyone about it, the jury heard.

The trial continues.

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