A 26-year-old woman, Rachel Tunstill, accused of stabbing her newborn baby girl, Mia Kelly, to death with a pair of scissors in her home in Burnley, Lancashire, made a court appearance at the Preston Crown Court and denied the murder, claiming that the events leading up to the fatal stabbing are unclear.
According to BBC News, Tunstill, who was pregnant at the time, stated that on January 14, she asked her boyfriend, Ryan Kelly, for a pair of scissors before heading into the bathroom. She told the court that she needed something to cut the umbilical cord in case she would have to deliver her baby in the bathroom.
Tunstill went on to say that she had no knowledge of being full term as she had not made a doctor’s appointment after finding out she was pregnant three days before the alleged murder. She added that she believed she was having a miscarriage.
When asked if she recalled what she did with the pair of scissors, she stated that she has no recollection of what transpired in the bathroom but she did, however, admit to being alone. Tunstill expressed that when she delivered the baby, Mia showed no signs of life.
Two days later, Tunstill went to Burnley General Hospital and told the medical staff that she was nine weeks pregnant but after an examination, it was determined that she was full term and had delivered a baby as it was uncovered that a “part of the umbilical was still attached to the uterus.”
Hospital staff immediately alerted Burnley police, who subsequently arrested Tunstill after the body of her newborn baby was found near her home, wrapped in a bag and dumped inside a bin.
A local medical examiner conducted a post-mortem examination on the newborn baby and ascertained 15 puncture wounds. Traces of the newborn baby’s blood was also found on a pair of metal scissors that was supposedly used as a murder weapon.
Prior to the mother allegedly stabbing her newborn baby to death with a pair of scissors, the psychology graduate was a deputy manager at a mental health facility. Relatives say Tunstill was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome when she was a child and her mother, as well as her sister, suffered from mental illness.
Tunstill told the court that she started hearing voices in 2016, but she refused to tell anyone about it. Although she denies murdering her newborn baby, she has accepted that her baby is deceased, and she agrees that she is the only person that could have killed her baby.
The trial is ongoing.
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