'Blameless’ young mother from Portsmouth given discharge after hiding dead baby in hedge

A ‘FRIGHTENED, vulnerable’ young woman hid the body of her dead newborn baby in a hedge outside her home so she could visit her every day, a court has heard.

Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 5:27 pm
Updated Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 8:38 pm

Lisa Blagden, described as ‘blameless’ and ‘grieving’, has been given an absolute discharge after she pleaded guilty at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court to concealing the birth of the baby on December 27, 2019.

Rhys Evans, prosecuting, described how the 21-year-old had been unaware that she was pregnant when she gave birth in her bathroom to the baby called Ivory Rose.

She then passed out from the loss of blood and woke up to find she had fallen on the baby who had stopped breathing and died.

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Police in Old Commercial Road in January last year Picture: Keith Woodland (250120-2)

Mr Evans said that Ms Blagden made attempts to revive Ivory Rose but was unsuccessful, so she took her outside in the hope that fresh air would help.

She placed the baby in a hedge so that she could see the dead child from her bedroom window, but almost a month later the body was disturbed by animals and was found in the street by a member of the public in Old Commercial Road, Portsmouth, near to the birthplace of Charles Dickens.

Mr Evans said: ‘She had not been aware of the pregnancy, she was at home alone and experienced what she believed was extreme period pain.

‘She went to run a bath to ease the pain and experienced further extreme pain and Ivory Rose was born.

Flowers, soft toys and heartfelt messages left in tribute to a newborn baby girl who was found dead in at the junction of Old Commercial Road and Victoria Street in Buckland Picture: Millie Salkeld

‘She described how she was alone and scared, she picked her up and began to cuddle her. There was a lot of blood and she was bleeding profusely.

‘She lost consciousness and passed out, tragically when she came to, Ivory Rose was beneath her and no longer breathing.’

He continued: ‘She placed her in a bush close to the address, about chest height, in a position where she could see her from her window. She described how being able to see Ivory Rose from her window gave her some small comfort or peace of mind.’

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Rebecca Strong, defending, said that the father of the child, who was 30 years older than her, had ‘groomed’ Ms Blagden and warned her not to reveal that their friendship had become sexual by telling her that her family would disown her.

She said: ‘She was this young, vulnerable girl not knowing what to do, she therefore wrapped the baby up, took her into the air thinking that maybe that will bring this baby back to life, she realises it’s not working, she is petrified to tell anyone, that she will be blamed for it.’

Ms Strong said Ms Blagden chose the hedge because it was her ‘safe place’ when she was bullied as a child and so that she could visit the baby every day, until the body was disturbed and found on January 25 2020.

She added: ‘She was just a frightened, vulnerable girl, not feeling she could turn to anyone to help her. Her decision will haunt her.

‘This is very tragic, this is not a girl who has done anything deliberately out of malice, she is full of remorse.’

District Judge Roderick Hine described the father as ‘despicable’ for attempting to ‘cover up and protect himself’ and said he had clearly ‘groomed’ Ms Blagden.

He said: ‘I cannot imagine someone as less morally scrupulous than that.’

He continued: ‘It’s difficult to imagine a more tragic set of circumstances. I do not believe any punishment beyond what she has already suffered would be appropriate.

‘She is blameless and so are her family.’

:: Parents seeking support following the death of a newborn child can contact neonatal and stillbirth support charity Sands by calling 0808 164 3332, emailing [email protected] or visiting sands.org.uk

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