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Woman admits charge of infanticide following death of newborn baby in Weston-super-Mare

In Court graphic

The following is a joint statement from Avon and Somerset Police and the Crown Prosecution Service:

A 34-year-old woman has admitted a charge of infanticide in connection with the death of a newborn baby in Weston-super-Mare.

Sarah Jayne Barron, formerly of Weston-super-Mare, entered the plea during a hearing at Bristol Crown Court on Tuesday (May 9).

An investigation was launched by the Major Crime Investigation Team (MCIT), following the discovery of a newborn baby’s body in a private garden on the morning of Saturday 12 December, 2020.

Following a complex and lengthy investigation, a file of evidence was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and in October 2022, they authorised the defendant be charged with one count of murder.

As a result of detailed medical evidence compiled in preparation for a trial, the CPS has today accepted a plea to a charge of infanticide, and the defendant will be sentenced on Friday 14 July.

In UK law, an offence of infanticide is one where a woman, by a wilful act or omission, causes the death of her child (under the age of 12 months), while the balance of her mind is disturbed due to the effect of giving birth.

Senior Investigating Officer, Det Supt Gary Haskins, said: “This is a very tragic and deeply upsetting case, and we know it’s had a profound impact on the local community where the incident happened, as well as all those involved in the investigation.

“We’ve worked closely with our colleagues at the CPS throughout and agree with their assessment that a plea to a charge of infanticide was the most proportionate outcome, taking all the circumstances into account.”

Iain Jenkins, of the CPS South West Complex Casework Unit, said: “The CPS has a duty to keep cases under continuous review to ensure a defendant faces the most appropriate charge.

“We recently received new material in the form of two expert reports from independent medical professionals. These reports considered matters within the experts’ particular field of expertise and all the known facts, including the defendant’s health at the time of the offence.

“Following careful review of these reports, and working closely with our colleagues in MCIT, the CPS decided that the most appropriate charge in this case is infanticide rather than murder.”