Australia

Fearful mum who left baby in toilet shown mercy in court

A pregnant and unmarried Indian woman under significant cultural and religious pressures “abandoned her humanity” and left her newborn baby head first in a toilet out of fear she’d be ostracised from her community and bring shame upon her family.

The baby boy was found crying inside the toilet bowl — with the placenta and umbilical cord still attached — after his mother abandoned him in the Cannington Medical Centre bathrooms on February 6, 2021.

Miraculously, the newborn did not suffer any medical issues, after being rescued by a registered nurse, however, he was given antibiotics for prophylaxis at Perth Children’s Hospital that afternoon.

He has since been put up for adoption.

But his 27-year-old mother, whose identity has been suppressed, faced Perth District Court last week charged with one count of causing suffering to a child in her care.

The court was told the woman, aged 26 at the time, had asked her housemates to drive her to the doctor earlier that day, saying she was suffering from pain from constipation.

Camera IconMiraculously, the newborn did not suffer any medical issues, after being rescued by a registered nurse, however, he was given antibiotics for prophylaxis at Perth Children’s Hospital that afternoon. Credit: Justin Benson-Cooper/The West Australian

She was about nine months pregnant at the time, but had denied the pregnancy when quizzed, instead saying she had stomach issues.

Just minutes after the doctor’s visit, during which she denied the pregnancy again, the woman told her housemates she needed to go to the bathroom.

CCTV footage from the medical centre showed the woman walking into the medical centre’s toilet facilities just before 5pm.

Just 26 minutes later, she was seen leaving.

Meanwhile, a woman who had entered the bathroom heard “gagging or heavy breathing”, which she quickly realised was a baby crying.

“He had been lying in the toilet with the umbilical cord and placenta still attached, in the toilet,” Judge Linda Petrusa said.

“The baby had been left head first in the toilet.”

When police knocked on the woman’s door that night they found a pile of clothing soaked in blood, but she continued to deny that she had been pregnant.

In an interview the following day, the woman admitted she’d given birth and told officers how she hadn’t looked into the toilet afterwards.

“She wasn’t worried about the baby and whether it was under water or able to breathe since she wasn’t thinking clearly at the time,” Prosecutor Kelsey Argue told the court.

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