Lauren Saint George guilty of killing baby girl Lily-Mai

Lauren Saint George
Lauren Saint George was cleared of murder (Image: PA Media)

A depressed mother has avoided jail after being found guilty of killing her baby girl, who died days after being discharged into her care against the advice of healthcare professionals.

Lily-Mai Hurrell Saint George sustained injuries at home in Duckett’s Green, Haringey, including 18 broken ribs, a broken leg and a fatal head injury.

Lauren Saint George was convicted at the Old Bailey of infanticide.

The prosecutor said the death “could almost definitely have been avoided”.

Previously, Mr Justice Spencer found Lily-Mai’s father Darren Hurrell had no case to answer for charges of murder and manslaughter and threw out a charge of causing or allowing the death of a child against both parents.

Lily-Mai died at Great Ormond Street Hospital on 2 February 2018, when surgeons turned off her life support machine due to the extent of her brain damage.

Saint George was suffering from post-natal depression when she violently shook Lily-Mai, pulling and twisting her leg two days before.

A head and shoulders shot of Darren Hurrell wearing a facemask with a sweater over his shoulders
The baby’s father Darren Hurrell was cleared of child cruelty (Image: PA Media)

 

Six days before the attack, Haringey social services decided Lily-Mai should be transferred to the sole care of her parents, Saint George and Mr Hurrell, both 25, despite professionals at Barnet Hospital warning the baby was at risk of neglect.

A jury deliberated for more than 11 hours to find Saint George, of Enfield in north London, not guilty of murder and manslaughter.

Infanticide is an alternative verdict to murder, when a mother kills her child while her mind is disturbed by a failure to recover from the effects of childbirth.

‘Clearly depressed’

Saint George and Mr Hurrell, of Alvaston in Derby, were both cleared of a separate charge of child cruelty.

During the trial, prosecutor Sally O’Neill QC told the jury: “Lily-Mai’s death could almost definitely have been avoided if she had not been discharged into the care of two people who were woefully unsuited to caring for her.”

Following the verdicts on Monday, the judge adjourned sentencing Saint George until 9 September to allow for a report to be prepared by the Probation Service.

But Mr Justice Spencer told her any prison sentence would be suspended, as she had already “suffered and continues to suffer”.

He said: “It is quite clear to me you were depressed, still suffering from the effects of the birth at the time you committed the act that caused the death and the verdict of infanticide is one that has traditionally evoked sympathy rather than punishment.”

Saint George was granted continued bail ahead of the sentencing hearing which will take place at Wood Green Crown Court.

Born prematurely

The court heard the defendants had been housed at a flat in north London while their baby was still in Barnet Hospital, having been born prematurely at 31 weeks.

Theresa Ferguson, a social worker with Haringey Child and Family Services, was allocated the case after concerns were raised over the parents’ ability to care for Lily-Mai.

Barnet Hospital professionals, including neonatal sister Deborah Hodge, were not happy that she was to be transferred to the sole care of her parents as they believed she would be at risk of neglect.

Concerns were raised about Saint George’s mental health, her parenting abilities and her lack of commitment to her daughter, including not visiting her in hospital.

Despite their misgivings, a decision was made on 22 January to allow Lily-Mai to be sent home with close contact with social services.

The Metropolitan Police initially said there was insufficient evidence to charge her parents but they both faced trial over Lily-Mai’s death after a coroner last year ruled she was unlawfully killed.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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