Mother dumped baby in lake after birth in lavatory

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A YOUNG single woman who kept her pregnancy a secret put her new-born baby in a rubbish sack and dumped her in a lake, a court was told yesterday.

Nigel Mylne QC, for the prosecution, told the Old Bailey that Victoria Pay's healthy seven-and- a-half-pound daughter lived for 15 minutes after the restaurant manageress delivered it herself in the staff lavatory of the Wheatsheaf Hotel in Virginia Water, Surrey, were she lived and worked.

He said Pay went to her own room, fetched a black dustbin liner and placed the child inside, before throwing the sack into a nearby lake. The baby died either from hypothermia, drowning or asphyxia. The bag containing her body was found by a woman walking her dog by the lakeside three days later.

Pay, 21, from Dartford, Kent, was put on probation for two years after the prosecution accepted her plea of guilty to infanticide and concealing the birth of a child. She had denied murdering the unnamed child minutes after she was born on 11 September last year.

Mr Mylne said Miss Pay had become pregnant at Christmas 1990 and had decided to conceal her pregnancy and the existence of the baby once it was born.

'She followed the plan through to its logical conclusion in leaving and allowing, or causing, the child to die and disposing of the body by tying it in a black refuse bag,' he said.

'She continued to lie after the birth by joining in with the general disapproval expressed when the body was found.'

Mr Mylne said a colleague who had heard the cries of a baby on the day of the birth followed Pay out to the lake to see what she was doing.

'The colleague met her as she came back from the lake, but noticed nothing about her at all. But she kept repeating that day that she was having a particularly heavy and distressing period.'

The court was told that Pay, who initially claimed she had got pregnant after being raped, had also given birth two years earlier on the lavatory in her mother's home. On that occasion Pay was persuaded to have the child adopted. A second unwanted pregnancy, also when she was 19, was terminated.

Ann Curnow QC, for the defence, said it was on the basis that lack of minimum care had caused the death - rather than any positive act by Pay - that the plea of guilty to infanticide had been made.

Sentencing Pay, Mr Justice Swinton Thomas said: 'There can be no doubt that what you did that night was very wrong.

'You and only you had the responsibility for that young child and you failed her. You have failed to provide the care that the baby needed as opposed to performing any act that actually caused the baby's death.

'It's clear that you were not at that time entirely responsible for what you did.'

The judge also ordered Pay to undergo 12 months' psychiatric treatment.

(Photograph omitted)