A new mother has been charged with murder after walking into a hospital with her dead son in her arms.
Shauna Donnelly, 24, sparked a murder investigation after walking in the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, North Yorks, with day-old baby Ellis laying in her arms.
It was quickly established that the infant, probably born the previous day, was already dead and police were called.
On Wednesday Donnelly was released on bail after a court heard the case was ‘sensitive and delicate.’
Shauna Donnelly (pictured) appeared before a judge accused of the murder of a newborn baby
The defendant was described as having a learning disability and an appropriate adult from the mental health charity MIND attended Teesside magistrates court along with her parents.
Donnelly’s barrister Rob Mochrie told Judge Paul Watson, QC, in a hearing conducted by video link: ‘I acknowledge that this is an extremely serious offence but at the same time my submission is that this is an extremely sensitive and delicate allegation.’
He said that Donnelly attended Middlesbrough police station this morning knowing that she potentially faced a homicide charge of either murder or the related offence of infanticide.
She had been under investigation since twice being arrested last year on suspicion of murder.
Donnelly, from Middlesbrough, spoke only to confirm her name and address and did not enter a plea.
Judge Watson ruled that she could be granted bail so long as she lives with her parents and observes a curfew between the hours of 4pm and 6am – pointing out the she was already restricted by coronavirus movement laws.
Judge Watson said: ‘The defendant attended at hospital on October 4 last year with a newborn baby, probably born a day or so before.
‘Sadly Ellis, the newborn, was found to be deceased on arrival at hospital.
Donnelly sparked a murder investigation after walking in the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, North Yorks, with baby Ellis laying in her arms
‘During the course of the medical investigations which took place very shortly after that Miss Donnelly has remained at large and under investigation since October last year.
‘During that time she has been living with her mother and father who will be witnesses in the case.
‘I imagine the key issues in any trial will as likely as not revolve around medical evidence.’
Donnelly, wearing a police issue grey tracksuit, left court with her parents and solicitor following the hearing.
The case will next be heard before Teesside Crown Court on June 10th but a trial date could not be set due to the continued disruption to the court service from the coronavirus restrictions.