Lancashire

Burnley mum gets life term for scissors baby murder

Rachel Tunstill Image copyright Lancashire Constabulary
Image caption Rachel Tunstill's first murder conviction was quashed

A mother who stabbed her newborn baby to death with scissors after telling her boyfriend she had miscarried has been jailed for life for a second time.

Rachel Tunstill, 28, killed Mia Kelly in the bathroom of her Burnley home and dumped her body in the kitchen bin.

Tunstill's original murder conviction was quashed in July after Appeal Court judges ruled the jury should have been allowed to consider lesser charges.

Following a retrial, she has been ordered to serve a minimum of 17 years.

Liverpool Crown Court heard Tunstill gave birth while her unsuspecting boyfriend Ryan Kelly played computer games in the next room on 14 January 2017.

She told him she was having a miscarriage and asked him for scissors before stabbing Mia 14 times.

'Frenzied and harrowing'

Police launched an investigation two days later after they were alerted by doctors, leading to officers finding Mia's body wrapped in plastic bags in the bin.

Sentencing Tunstill, Mr Justice King said had "showed no emotion or remorse" over the "frenzied and harrowing attack".

In the weeks leading up to the birth Tunstill, a deputy manager at a residential home for people with mental health issues, carried out internet searches for terms including "how to end a pregnancy late".

Tunstill's lawyers said she had high-functioning autistic spectrum disorder and had suffered "an acute stress reaction" after giving birth.

Det Ch Insp Gareth Willis from Lancashire Police described it as a "truly horrifying and callous killing of a defenceless newborn baby".

He added: "She has still never admitted why she killed Mia."

At the retrial, the jury was able to consider alternative charges to murder - manslaughter, manslaughter with diminished responsibility or infanticide.

Tunstill was sentenced to life with a minimum of 20 years at the conclusion of her first trial.

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