Paris Mayo jailed for murder of newborn sonon June 26, 2023 at 5:45 pm

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Paris Mayo was 15 when she gave birth to Stanley after concealing her pregnancy from her family.

Paris Mayo arrives at Worcester Crown CourtImage source, PA Media

A 19-year-old who murdered her newborn son hours after giving birth has been jailed for at least 12 years.

A trial heard Paris Mayo, then 15, suffocated the boy, Stanley, by stuffing cotton wool into his mouth and throat.

Mayo delivered him alone at her family home in Ross-on-Wye, in March 2019, while her parents were upstairs.

“Killing your baby son was a truly dreadful thing to do,” said the judge, Mr Justice Garnham, passing sentence.

Warning: This article contains distressing content.

The trial heard she had assaulted Stanley, leaving him with injuries comparable to those seen in a car crash.

“How you did this is not clear, but I suspect you crushed his head, probably beneath your foot,” the judge told Mayo.

Her initial assault caused him “serious damage”, but did not kill him, the judge added.

“He remained alive and continued to breathe for at least an hour. You decided you had to finish Stanley off by stuffing cotton wool balls into his throat.”

The newborn was found by Mayo’s mother the day after his birth, dumped in a bin bag left on the doorstep.

It was she who alerted emergency services in an emotional 999 call played to the jury.

Paris Mayo

Image source, Facebook

Mayo had claimed she did not know she was pregnant, also telling the court of her difficult family life and her father who had made her feel “worthless”.

In her testimony, she described how she started having sex at 13 and used it as a way to get people to like her, because she was “insecure” due to her family situation.

The court heard her father Patrick Mayo – who died 10 days after Stanley – had been upstairs on dialysis treatment with Mayo’s mother at the time of the birth.

‘Frightened and traumatised’

“You went through the process of giving birth without the assistance of a midwife, a doctor, a friend or a relative. I find as a fact that you were frightened and traumatised by those events.,” Mr Justice Garnham said during sentencing.

“Astonishingly, despite the pain you must have endured, it seems you did not cry out, so anxious were you not to disturb your parents sleeping upstairs.”

Defence barrister Bernard Richmond KC described Mayo as a “pathetic and vulnerable individual” who had not been supported by people around her.

“When faced with a decision she had to make, she did not face up to it. By the time she had to, the decision she made was woefully, woefully wrong,” he said.

“This will, in every sense of the word, be a life sentence. It will be a lonely, isolating and frightening time for her.”

The jury were given the option to consider an alternative verdict of infanticide if they believed she killed Stanley while the balance of her mind was disturbed.

However, Mayo, of Ruardean in Gloucestershire, cried in the dock on Friday as jurors delivered a majority guilty verdict on the charge of murder.

Paris Mayo's police mug shot

Image source, West Mercia Police

During summing up Mr Justice Garnham rejected the suggestion the murder was committed “with significant pre-planning”.

He added that Mayo had not spent her time covering up her pregnancy, but in March 2019 had found herself “facing a reality you had spent nine months telling yourself could not be true”.

However, he said the combination of a two-stone weight gain and the lack of periods for eight months meant she “must have known” she was pregnant and “rapidly approaching your time for giving birth”.

Despite that, the judge said Mayo “told no one, and sought no help”.

“You did not even tell your mother who you accepted in court would, at least after the initial shock, have been supportive,” he said.

“I find as a fact that almost as soon as Stanley was born, you had decided you could not allow him to live.”

‘Tragic and complex’

The judge also used his sentencing remarks to criticise a prosecution expert witness, describing forensic psychiatrist Dr Duncan Harding’s “inflexibility of thinking” while giving evidence as “unhelpful”.

“He had told the police that you ought to be prosecuted, a surprising opinion for an expert called to give evidence on a defendant’s mental state to express,” Mr justice Garnham said.

It was apparent he had a “clear and unshakeable view on your culpability from the time of his very first meeting with you.”

A spokesperson for the Crown Prosecution Service said the case had been both “tragic and complex”.

Stanley’s “short life was filled with pain and suffering when he should have been nurtured and loved”.

“[Mayo] chose to hide her pregnancy, give birth alone and kill her baby, then hide his body, despite accepting that she had a family who would have supported her.”

If you have been affected by the issues raised in this article, help and support is available via BBC Action Line.

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