Trying to conceal the body of a new-born is a serious offence

Hertfordshire Mercury, 22nd June 1918


At Hertfordshire Summer Assizes, Amy Cook (21), a domestic servant, pleaded guilty to endeavouring to conceal the birth of her male child.

Mr J.H. Murphy, on behalf of the prosecution, said that it was one of those sad cases of a respectable young woman getting into trouble and then trying to conceal the consequences.  She had no assistance at the birth of her child, and afterwards hid the body away in a box in her bedroom, and was thus able to resume her work the next day.

Suspicions, however, were aroused, the police were called in, and she eventually produced the body.  There was nothing against the prisoner, and probably it was more the fault of the man who got her into trouble than her own for she said that she did not know what to do.

The girl’s mother said her daughter had been well behaved and had been in good service for several years.  Asked by the Judge if she was aware of her daughter’s condition before the concealment, she replied that at about Christmas time she had had suspicions and had challenged her, but her daughter denied that there was anything wrong.  She did not see her daughter again until after this affair happened.

His Lordship said the prisoner was young and hitherto had a good character, otherwise he should have passed a more severe sentence upon her than he was going to pass.  This kind of offence had been too prevalent in recent years, much too prevalent.  Having regard to the circumstances, he should pass the very lenient sentence of 3 months’ imprisonment in the second division.

On hearing the sentence, the prisoner screamed, threw up her hands, and was carried out of Court in a fainting condition.

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