Mother jailed for aborting baby within a week of his due date
A FORMER barmaid from Bridlington has been jailed for eight years for aborting her baby within a week of his due date.
Married Sarah Catt, who had been having an affair for seven years, was about 40 weeks' pregnant when she took drugs she bought on the internet to induce labour.
Catt, who is believed to have moved away from the seaside town 11 years ago, buried her baby after claiming he was stillborn but has refused to tell anyone where to find his body.
At Leeds Crown Court, Catt, 35, was described as "cold and calculating".
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Mr Justice Cooke said the seriousness of the crime lay between manslaughter and murder.
He said she would have been charged with murder if the baby had been born a few days later.
He said: "The child in the womb was so near to birth that, in my judgment, all right-thinking people would consider this offence more serious than manslaughter or any offence on the calendar other than murder.
"What you did was end the life of a child that was capable of being born alive by inducing birth or miscarriage.
"What you have done is rob an apparently healthy child – vulnerable and defenceless – of the life which he was about to commence."
Mr Justice Cooke said Catt, who now lives in North Yorkshire, ended the pregnancy with full knowledge of her due date and the abortion law.
He said: "This was a cold, calculated decision that you took for your own convenience and in your self-interest alone."
When Catt discovered she was pregnant in 2009, she believed the father of the child was her lover and ended the relationship after telling him about the pregnancy.
She had an appointment for a consultation but a scan the day before showed it was too late for a termination.
Between March and May 2010, she made several searches on the internet about illegal abortions and abortion drugs.
She bought drugs online from a company in India in April 2010 and the drugs were delivered to her home when she was 38 weeks' pregnant.
About 11 days later, on May 21, she asked on the internet what would happen if she took the drug at full-term. 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."
Catt told a psychiatrist she had taken the drug at home while her husband was away and delivered the boy, who was not breathing or moving, herself.
She went on a family holiday to France on May 27. She did not tell her husband about the pregnancy and did not tell anyone about the baby.
Catt was arrested in September 2010.
She told police she had undergone a legal abortion but pleaded guilty earlier this year to administering a poison with intent to procure a miscarriage.
Speaking after the sentencing, Chief Inspector Kerrin Smith, of North Yorkshire Police, said: "This was an unusual, disturbing and very complicated case to investigate.
"I only hope now Catt has been sentenced and has the time to reflect on her actions, she will reveal where the body of her baby is so we can ensure a compassionate conclusion to this very sad investigation."