Grandmother admits to concealing four births

Bernadette Quirk
Image caption Bernadette Quirk has been warned that she may face a custodial sentence

A woman who kept the bodies of three stillborn children in a bin in her wardrobe for up to 20 years and secretly buried another in a cemetery has been warned she could be jailed.

Bernadette Quirk, 55, formerly of Harlow Close, St Helens, Merseyside, gave birth to the babies between 1985 and 1995, Liverpool Crown Court heard.

She wrapped three of the babies in rags and kept them in the small plastic bin.

Quirk admitted concealing the births and will be sentenced in October.

Her defence barrister told the court that the births happened during a difficult time in her life when she was drinking heavily.

The court heard that Quirk, who now lives in Wigan, Greater Manchester, struggled to recall details of exactly when the births took place.

Defending Quirk, Ian Morris, said: "She would just like to make it clear, as supported by the medical evidence, the children were stillborn when she gave birth to them.

"She describes that period of her life as chaotic and out of control and has buried a number of memories at the back of her mind.

"She is at a loss to explain many of the things that were happening in her life at that period."

'Serious offences'

Mr Morris also said that though Quirk could not remember the fourth baby she had "little option but to plead guilty" because of overwhelming evidence that she was the mother.

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Media captionBernadette Quirk gave birth to the babies in the 1980s

He told the court that when Quirk was arrested last year, she was being treated at Whiston Hospital on Merseyside for depression and was on the verge of being evicted from her home.

No explanation was given why she kept and carried the remains about, moving home several times since the babies were born between 1985 and 1995.

Two of the babies in the bin were twins and all four were girls.

Judge Henry Globe adjourned the hearing for reports because, he said, "there is a background here that I need to understand".

He said: "You have pleaded guilty to four very serious offences and I must keep all options open, including the possibility of a custodial sentence for such matters."

Quirk's relatives now plan to give the four babies a proper burial.

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