Mother jailed for hiding baby's death in 2005

Victoria Gayle Image copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption Victoria Gayle was arrested on suspicion of murder on 30 May 2016

A mother has been jailed for 21 months for covering up the death of her baby son for more than a decade.

Victoria Gayle, 32, pleaded guilty at Kingston Crown Court in December to preventing the lawful burial of Kyzer Gayle, whose remains were found in a garden shed.

The offence only came to light after the death of Gayle's two-year-old daughter Ava in 2015.

Investigations are under way into possible official failings.

'Web of lies'

Prosecutor Bill Emlyn Jones told the court that estimates put Kyzer at about 13 or 14 months old when he died.

There is no record of any official agency having seen him after he left hospital with his mother in February 2004, he said.

Gayle, of no fixed address, had also been charged with perjury and perverting the course of justice. Those charges will now lie on file.

Judge Susan Tapping told Gayle "your little boy was denied a decent burial for so many years".

She added that "the full truth of his sad and short life will never be known" because the defendant had spun a "web of lies".

Image copyright Google
Image caption The boy's body was found in when officers searched a property in Fryent Crescent, West Hendon

Kyzer's remains, which showed signs of malnourishment, were discovered in a garden shed at the home of Gayle's mother and step father, although they were unaware of the fact.

The body was found encased in grey adhesive tape and concealed in a laundry bag, which was inside a cardboard box, wrapped in a bin liner.

Opening the facts of the case, prosecutor Mr Jones said an inquiry into Kyzer's whereabouts started after the death of Ava Gayle in August 2015.

The toddler died after accidentally swallowing a "button battery" while with her mother.

It then emerged there were "no records" of anyone having seen Kyzer since the day of his birth and a missing person's inquiry was launched.

On 30 May 2016 detectives arrested Gayle on suspicion of murder.

The court heard she provided "a lengthy and elaborate account" denying any knowledge of Kyzer's whereabouts and insisting he had been taken away by his father, whom she claimed was a traveller.

Official investigation

Despite two post-mortem examinations, the cause of the boy's death has been given as "unascertained".

A serious case review is investigating potential failings by Barnet Council and other official bodies in protecting the children.

In a statement, the council said: "The death of any child is tragic and we are working with Barnet Safeguarding Children's Board to provide information for their serious case review and to establish any learning from our involvement with the family."

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has also opened an inquiry and said "we now know the family of the child had significant contact, not just with the police, but also with other agencies."

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