Hannah Cobley: Mum jailed for murdering newborn baby

Hannah Cobley Image copyright Leicestershire Police
Image caption Hannah Cobley left the newborn wrapped in plastic bags on farmland

A woman who murdered her newborn baby by forcing an object down her throat and leaving her to die has been jailed for life.

Hannah Cobley, 29, left the child wrapped in plastic bags in an overgrown area of the Leicestershire farm where she lived with her parents.

A post-mortem examination revealed the baby suffered three skull fractures and survived for two hours before dying.

Cobley was sentenced at Leicester Crown Court to serve a minimum of 18 years.

Justice Susan Carr said she had committed a "totally shocking crime".

"I find without hesitation that you intended to kill the baby," she said.

Justice Carr described how, instead of calling for medical assistance, Cobley hit the baby's head against the hard tiles in the toilet.

Image caption Cobley (right) concealed the pregnancy from her family

Cobley, whose father owns a transport business and also keeps livestock on the farm in Stoney Stanton, denied murdering the baby who she gave birth to in an outside toilet on 26 April 2017.

She claimed the girl had been stillborn but was found guilty of murder by a jury on Thursday.

The court heard that in the hours following the birth, Cobley searched the internet to find out how long a newborn could "survive without being fed".

The pregnancy, which was the result of a consensual one-night stand, had been kept secret from her family and friends.

Image caption Cobley was sentenced at Leicester Crown Court

In the days after giving birth, Cobley - who worked as a driver for her father's firm - collapsed on a family holiday in Skegness.

She was taken to Leicester Royal Infirmary where she told her father about the baby.

Cobley's father Peter told police she told him it "wasn't alive or anything", and he did his "fatherly bit" by consoling her.

The jury was told the girl had been born about eight weeks premature but was a normal, healthy baby.

Prosecutor Jonas Hankin QC told the court Cobley "had no regard for the sanctity of human life".

He said: "Had Miss Cobley not been admitted to hospital, the body may never have been found. There was little or no remorse during the trial - she is a profoundly self-interested young woman."

Defending, Andrew Smith QC said Cobley has "demonstrated the ability to work hard".

"She is an individual that has the capability to rehabilitate."

Image caption Det Insp Jonathan Blockley said Cobley could have sought help

Speaking outside the court, Det Insp Jonathan Blockley from Leicestershire Police said it had been "extremely sad and tragic case" for officers to investigate.

He said: "Cobley could have sought help from her own family or professionals but instead took actions into her own hands.

"This decision meant a newborn baby girl was denied her life."

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