Mother may not face murder trial

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The Independent Online

The American lawyer for Carolyn Beale, the British woman accused of suffocating her newborn baby and trying to smuggle the body past airport security in New York, said yesterday that he will mount a psychological defence.

"I'm hoping to persuade prosecutors that this case shouldn't go to trial at all," said Michael Dowd. He was speaking after Ms Beale was freed on bail of $75,000. "As we left the courthouse, she was almost in shock. "She was so happy to be outside. She was talking about breathing the fresh air."

Her parents, Peter and Daphne Beale, put up their Chingford, Essex, home as collateral. Last night, her father said he was "delighted" that Ms Beale was free, and that she would be staying with friends in New York. "She phoned up here after she was freed. She sounded utterly exhausted. But she said she was looking forward to having a bath in private. I think she's really happy to be out," he said.

Ms Beale, 30, who has spent the past eight months in jail, is accused of second degree murder. Mr Dowd said experts had examined Ms Beale and found that post-partum depression, coupled with an existing clinical depression, were behind the child's death. "She is not responsible in any legal sense for what happened," he said.

In an interview on US television, Ms Beale said she couldn't remember the 30 hours between the birth of the infant and her arrest.

Her parents visited Carolyn three times at the notorious Rikers Island prison, but they said yesterday that they had no immediate plans to visit her in New York. They were not yet even certain of her new address.

"We have had numerous offers from the media to take us to New York but we haven't made any decisions yet, because we felt it would be better for her to relax and try to get her feet back on the ground before anything else happens," Mr Beale said.

"She knows people now in New York, people who've helped in her case. They seem to be kind and caring people."