London

Tooting mother admits burying newborn baby alive

Tooting Common Image copyright Bing.com
Image caption It is believed a fox dug up body parts on Tooting Common in 2012

A mother has admitted burying her newborn baby alive in south-west London.

Elita Amantova, 39, from Latvia, was living rough in Tooting before giving birth in 2012, the Old Bailey heard.

The baby was discovered after a fox dug up body parts from Tooting Common and dumped them in a nearby tractor yard.

At court, Amantova's plea of not guilty to murder, but guilty to infanticide was accepted by the prosecution. She was given a hospital order.

Mental illness

Outlining the case, prosecutor Zoe Johnson QC said Amantova had arrived in the UK in 2008, but after losing her job she fell into the company of organised criminals in Norfolk and worked as a prostitute.

The court heard when she fell pregnant she was homeless and having to live off berries and bread left out for birds.

Previously diagnosed with a schizophrenia-type mental illness, her condition was said to have been exacerbated by childbirth, and she refused help from police to find a suitable place to live, the court heard.

Ms Johnson said: "On 10 September 2012 a worker found a baby's leg and foot on the ground at the tractor yard at Doctor Johnson Avenue next to Tooting Common.

"The leg was infested with maggots.

'Traumatic' birth

"In a search, another limb was found, the thigh and calf had been eaten through exposing bone.

"A fox is likely to have found those body parts on Tooting Common and brought the parts into the yard," she said.

In a statement, Amantova said she gave birth to a child in August 2012 and buried it in a park on the same day but found the birth "too traumatic" to answer questions about it.

She said she thought she knew who the father was but had no contact with him.

During an interview in April 2013, she admitted to a doctor that the child had been alive when she buried it and she was initially charged with murder, before the guilty plea to the lesser charge was accepted.

Judge Paul Worsley QC said while "the court must always mark the serious fact a life has been taken", a hospital order was appropriate and the defendant would probably need lifelong treatment and care.

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