UK & World News
Woman Jailed Over Full-Term Home Abortion
A woman who aborted her own baby less than a week before his due date has been jailed for eight years.
Sarah Catt bought drugs on the internet which induced her labour when her pregnancy was nearly full-term.
She claimed the boy was stillborn and that she buried his body but no evidence of the child was ever found, Leeds Crown Court heard.
Catt, 35, already had two children with her husband when she became pregnant in 2009 - but believed the baby's father was a man with whom she had been having an affair for seven years.
She tried to terminate the pregnancy in 2010 but discovered she had missed the legal limit of 24 weeks.
She made several searches on the internet relating to illegal abortions and abortion drugs, including "Where can I get an illegal abortion?" and "Inducing an abortion at 30 weeks".
Catt, from Sherburn-in-Elmet, North Yorkshire, bought a drug used to terminate pregnancy or induce labour over the internet from a company in Mumbai, India, in May 2010.
She is believed to have taken it towards the end of May 2010 when she was nearly 40 weeks pregnant.
After initially claiming she had undergone a legal abortion at a Marie Stopes clinic in March of that year, she pleaded guilty earlier this year to administering a poison with intent to procure a miscarriage.
Catt told a psychiatrist she had taken the drug while her husband was away and delivered the baby boy by herself at home.
She said the child was not breathing or moving and that she had buried his body but has not revealed the location. The court heard she went on holiday to France on May 27.
Mr Justice Cooke said she had robbed the baby of the life it was about to have and said the seriousness of the crime lay between manslaughter and murder.
Sentencing Catt, who showed no emotion during the hour-long hearing, the judge said: "The critical element of your offending is the deliberate choice made by you, in full knowledge of the due date of your child, to terminate the pregnancy at somewhere close to term, if not actually at term, with the full knowledge that termination after week 24 was unlawful and in full knowledge your child's birth was imminent."
Catt made a search on the internet on May 21, 2010, asking what would happen if she took the drug at term, and on May 26 she asked how soon the drug would work.
Mr Justice Cooke said: "It's a fair inference you must have taken the drug somewhere around that time.
"What you have done is rob an apparently healthy child, vulnerable and defenceless, of the life which he was about to commence.
"The child in the womb was so near to birth, in my judgment all right-thinking people would think this offence more serious than unintentional manslaughter."