A couple murdered their baby after they failed to feed or clothe him. Now, the couple is accused of murder and buried him naked in a shoe box in a shallow grave.
35-year-old Anthony Clark and Catherine Davies, 25, are accused of allowing the baby to be dehydrated and starved to death.
The court heard how Davies kept a diary about her pregnancy in which she said ‘pregnancy is p***ing me right off’ and complained how the ‘monstrosity’ made her ‘feel fat’.
Anthony Clark, 35, and Catherine Davies, 25, are accused of murdering their baby after they failed to feed or clothe him before burying him naked in a shoe box in a shallow grave (pictured: with their first baby who was taken into care)
The couple were in a live-in relationship staying in Bolton when Davies gave birth to a baby boy on August 23 2016, a jury heard.
It is believed that the infant died around four days later.
The couple are alleged to have put him in a shoe box, which was wrapped in Sellotape, before burying him in a shallow grave at Heaton Cemetery at night.
The relevant authorities were never told about the baby’s existence or death.
During investigation, both of them denied murder while Clark has pleaded guilty to concealing a birth. Davies denies concealing a birth.
Manchester Crown Court was told that the parents ‘prioritised’ their own needs over that of their child and failed to buy him clothes or food.
A previous child they had, referred to as Child A, was taken into care for the same reason.
The court was told how during the baby’s short life the couple left their address with him only once, on August 24.
Louise Blackwell, for the prosecution, said this was so Clark could sign on at the Job Centre to obtain benefits and CCTV showed the baby being handed over to Davies.
Clark (left) and Davies (right) are accused of putting him in a shoe box, which was wrapped in Sellotape, and burying him in a shallow grave at Heaton Cemetery at night
Both of them were then seen going to Morrisons supermarket where they bought food and provisions for themselves but no baby products or food for the baby.
Police were only alerted when Davies contacted her mother, Marjorie, asking for money in September last year.
She then spoke to her care worker, Jean Todd, and the police were contacted.
When police went to their home Davies initially denied the birth of her child and blamed her mother’s mental health for making up lies.
Then the police carried out door-to-door inquiries and spoke with a neighbour who said Davies told him she was pregnant but later claimed it was a ‘joke’.
Initially, when the police interviewed Clarke he denied the existence of the baby.
But during an interview he gave a prepared statement confirming the baby had been born alive and had died in his sleep.
He said Davies had attempted to breastfeed him but failed which was later confirmed by Davies herself.
Ms Blackwell told the court that in her third interview Davies admitted there had been a baby but Clark made her lie.
She said: ‘She denied telling her mother that she had had another baby and blamed her mother’s medication for her mother saying otherwise.
‘She claimed that she jokingly told her neighbour that she was pregnant.
‘She refused to give a blood sample in order to ascertain whether she had been pregnant in the recent past.
‘During her third interview on October 1 2016 she told officers the baby was born and said he was waking up “every hour to half an hour”.
She said there were ‘weird birth defects with the baby’, he had a ‘circle underneath his rib cage’ and was ‘too tiny’.
She added they had no money to feed or clothe him.
The jury heard how a diary belonging to Davies was found in the flat by police.
In her diary she wrote how ‘pregnancy is p***ing me right off’, the jury heard.
Ms Blackwell said she also wrote: ‘Don’t want hosp. Don’t want head full on easier to dispose of and less complicated at the end. Less people involved.’
Referring to Clark, Davies also noted: ‘You make me feel special while the monstrosity makes me feel fat. You make me feel loved while I hate the bump.’
Last year, on August 23, the day the baby is understood to have been born, Davies wrote in her diary ‘gave birth to baby two, baby boy three months early.’
She later wrote ‘died in sleep’ on August 27 and ‘buried in box. Love you always’ on August 30.
The baby was found in Heaton Park Cemetery by sniffer dogs, wrapped in a blanket with teddy bears on it, in a shoe box wrapped in sellotape.
The baby was found in Heaton Park Cemetery by sniffer dogs, wrapped in a blanket with teddy bears on it, in a shoe box wrapped in sellotape
A post mortem examination was unable to reveal a cause of death, but doctors agreed the child was malnourished.
Ms Blackwell added: ‘In Dr Carter’s opinion, the cause of this infant’s death is unascertained.
‘Given the limited history available, dehydration must be a strong possibility for why he died, although she emphasises that deliberate smothering cannot be excluded.
‘Simon Mitchell, consultant neonatalologist stated that his opinion is that an infant such as this baby could survive for up to 3 to 4 days without adequate feeding.
‘The baby would initially be distressed and cry, and without any feeding an otherwise well infant would be likely to suffer significant distress.
‘Once very low blood sugar levels ensued the baby would become lethargic, cold and suffer seizures. Without medical assistance the baby would die.
‘Dehydration is difficult to assess because of post mortem decomposition.
‘Mr Mitchell is struck by baby’s emaciated appearance particularly over the ribs laterally/posteriorly, which suggests very little subcutaneous fat.’
The trial continues.