A teenage Muslim mum who kept her pregnancy secret was driven to such a frenzy when she gave birth to a son in her bathroom that she poured bleach down his throat. The Old Bailey heard how the 17-year-old mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, poured domestic bleach into his mouth moments after a homebirth at her family house in west London in August in 2015.
The baby survived but sustained burns to his mouth and lips, and even though the mother was originally charged with attempted murder the defendant ultimately pleaded guilty to child cruelty after the charge was reduced following psychiatric reports.
During her assessment, the girl told Dr Philip Joseph that she did not intend to kill her son and committed the act because she was in a state of shock and panic. "On that basis I conclude that even if she was suffering from an acute stress reaction, it was not of such severity that she was legally insane at the material time," the doctor concluded, as reported by the Independent.
"Within a few seconds of applying the bleach the defendant states that she realised what she had done and tried to wipe it away. Shortly afterwards her aunt came into the bathroom and the defendant does not know what she would have done if her aunt had not come in."
Another assessor said the defendant was so distressed at the time of the incident that she was "unlikely" to be fully aware of what she was doing to the baby. Prosecutor Edward Brown QC disagreed that only a "drop" of bleach had entered the baby's mouth and adjourned sentencing until a date to be fixed in February 2016 at Isleworth Crown Court.