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Teenage mother 'murdered newborn baby by stuffing cotton wool in his mouth then dumped his body in a bin bag'
12 May 2023, 11:48 | Updated: 12 May 2023, 12:12
A teenage mother murdered her newborn baby by stuffing his throat with cotton wool before putting the body in a bin bag and telling her brother to take it out, a court has been told.
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Paris Mayo, who was 15 at the time, is accused of assaulting her son Stanley and fracturing his skull before using cotton wool to stuff his mouth, throat and neck.
She then put the body in a bin bag and told her brother to take it out, telling him it was vomit, before her horrified mother discovered what was inside, jurors heard.
The now-19-year-old, of Ruardean in Gloucestershire, denies the killing.
Jurors at Worcester Crown Court heard how she gave birth to the baby on the evening of 23 March 2019 at full term or near full term.
She gave birth in the living room of her parents' house in Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, where she lived with her family and 16-year-old brother George.
Jonas Hankin KC, prosecuting, said she was alone at the time, with her parents upstairs as her father underwent home dialysis with the help of her mother.
He told the court: "Following delivery, the defendant assaulted the baby, fracturing the upper left and upper right sides of the skull and causing a severe brain injury.
"Approximately two hours later, realising the baby was still alive, the defendant stuffed pieces of cotton wool into his mouth, throat and neck.
"The first piece to go in was forced down so deeply into the oesophagus - the tube through which we carry food to our stomachs - it was only discovered on dissection of the neck at autopsy.
"This blocked his airway and he suffocated.
"She then put the baby's body in a bin bag and deposited the bin bag on the front doorstep outside the house, before going upstairs to bed.
"The following morning, she texted her brother, who by then was in the house, this message: 'When you go outside, can you put the black bag in the bin, it's just full of sick from last night, please'."
He said Mayo's mother noticed the bag was unusually heavy and there were streaks of blood on the doorstep, so she opened it.
"She suddenly went hysterical and was heard to say, 'There's a baby in the bag' and... 'Paris has given birth'," he said.
The mother called 999, and while on the phone to the operator could be heard telling Mayo "You could have told me, darling, you could have told me - poor baby" and repeating "Why didn't you tell me?"
Mayo was sitting with her mother and holding the baby, who had been wrapped in a sheet with no signs of life, when paramedics arrived.
She told them her baby had "stuff coming out of its mouth" and used cotton wool to clean it, and that she had put some in his mouth to stop more coming out.
Paramedics were told she put the baby in the bag because she didn't know what to do - having hoped the bag would be thrown out without her mother realising - and didn't know she was pregnant, the court heard.
Mr Hankin told the court medics took her to Hereford County Hospital where she said: "It's not my fault the baby died, is it? His head hit the floor and I was waiting for a noise."
But he told jurors that prosecutors believe she killed Stanley to stop her pregnancy and birth from being discovered.
"She didn't want the baby," he said.
"Despite having parents and siblings - whom she acknowledges are loving and supportive and to whom she could have turned for help and advice - she murdered him.
"The defendant says, on the other hand, that she gave birth suddenly and unexpectantly.
"She believed the baby was dead. She never intended to kill the baby, or to seriously harm him and she made no attempt to conceal the birth.
"It will be your task, having heard the evidence during this lengthy trial, whether the prosecution has satisfied you so you are sure of the defendant's guilt."
The trial continues.