A TEENAGER is facing a life sentence after being found guilty of murdering her new born baby when she was 15.
Paris Mayo, now 19, was found guilty by a jury at Worcester Crown court today, four years after giving birth alone in her Ross-on-Wye family home as her own father lay critically ill upstairs.
The jury was offered an alternative verdict of infanticide, where the balance of the mother's mind is disturbed by the trauma of giving birth, but convicted her of murder after eight hours and 38 minutes of deliberation.
As the jury of five men and seven women delivered its majority verdict, the teenager burst into tears in the dock.
Mayo, a pupil at John Kyrle High School in Ross-on-Wye at the time of the birth in March 2019, who later attended Monmouth Comprehensive School, denied the charge.
She was remanded in custody to face sentence on Monday (June 26).
The prosecution alleged that she deliberately caused head injuries to the new born baby boy, posthumously named Stanley, and suffocated the infant by forcing cotton wool down his throat.
The trial heard that she had concealed the pregnancy from her family, but gave birth alone "suddenly and unexpectedly" on the evening of March 23 at their Springfield Avenue home in Ross.
Her mother and older brother then found the baby's body next morning in a bin bag on the doorstep of their house.
The prosecution claimed she assaulted the baby, causing fractures to both sides of the skull and a severe brain injury, consistent with those suffered in a car crash.
Some two hours later “realising the baby was still alive”, the defendant stuffed pieces of cotton wool into his mouth before placing the baby in the bin bag and leaving him outside on the front doorstep, the court was told.
Mayo denied causing the injuries in the witness box, saying the baby had fallen onto the hard floor during birth and she had used cotton wool to try and clean up blood coming from his mouth.
She also claimed she did not know she was pregnant and the baby was not moving and did not make a noise when he was born.
But medical experts told the court the baby was probably alive for a couple of hours, and had taken breaths.
It was revealed in court that Mayo's family life had been difficult, and her father died 10 days after the birth, making her feel "worthless".
Psychiatrists disagreed about her state of mind at the time off the birth, one saying she had "created a false memory" while another saying she was "remarkably well intact".
Mayo told the jury she was unaware she was pregnant until she went into labour and was confused and scared by what was happening.
“I knew I didn’t want to hurt him. I do feel stupid that I didn’t go and tell anyone and get help,” she said.
“I loved him. I always think about what he would be like and how he would have been.”
She denied deliberately hurting the baby, and said: “I started to panic because he wasn’t crying or making a noise and I got really scared.
“It all happened so fast, I don’t really remember a lot about it. I just remember he hit his head and that was really it. The [umbilical] cord was around his throat.”
She admitted putting the baby in the bin bag, but claimed: “I knew my mum would find him. I didn’t know how else to tell someone.”
Former West Mercia Police officer David Thomas told the trial that Hereford County Hospital consultant paediatrician Dr Tom Dawson “believed Paris had been in denial during her pregnancy”.
Referring to his notebook, Mr Thomas said that during a conversation at the hospital between the consultant and the teenager, she: "Didn't know what family would think. Didn't know what to do, but wanted to hide it from mum. Put it in a bag."
Another entry in the notebook added: "Sounds like she thought she might be pregnant, but was in denial."
Referring to notes of an earlier conversation with Mayo in her hospital bed, Mr Thomas said her half-sister had asked: "Why didn't you tell mum?”, to which she replied: “She's got a lot going on with Dad,” – a reference to the illness of her father.
The former detective constable also recounted Mayo’s explanation to the doctor: "Had baby downstairs, didn't know, it just came out. It came out and banged head.
"Removed (umbilical) cord from neck to see if it would start breathing.
"Baby made no noise, waiting for him to make a noise, but it didn't.
“Was pressing his heart to see if it would help.
"Didn't know what to do. I was reeling. Oozing from mouth, cotton wool in mouth to stop."
She allegedly added: "In back room by kitchen, couldn't feel pulse when unwrapped cord. Crying after and (I) went to bed.”