Baby: mum will not be charged

NO CHARGES will be brought against a mother who turned up at a Sheffield hospital with her dead newborn baby in the bottom of a carrier bag.

Tuesday, 2nd October 2007, 4:36 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd October 2007, 10:14 am

Police today confirmed Emma Kerns - who had kept her pregnancy secret and gave birth alone - will not be prosecuted in relation to the death of her tragic daughter Sian.

Speaking after an inquest into the baby’s death, Det Insp Kevin Brown told The Star: “Following extensive investigations there is insufficient evidence to conclude the cause of death.

“The police agree with the Crown Prosecution Service that there is insufficient evidence to charge anyone and, unless any significant new information is forthcoming, the matter will be closed.” The Sheffield inquest heard Emma Kerns, aged 25, failed to try to revive her daughter or dial 999 after the tiny girl stopped breathing shortly after birth in March last year at her shared flat in Bents Green, Sheffield.

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Despite having been told she was pregnant at a clinic in Sheffield city centre, Miss Kerns - a journalist on The Ilkeston Advertiser - refused to accept her condition and kept it secret from friends and family.

She gave birth alone at her flat in and, hours later, caught the bus to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital carrying the dead child in a bag.

Pathologist Dr Martha Cohen said she could not establish a cause of death because the placenta was missing.

Dr Cohen said the child died from “an inability to maintain independent existence at birth” and said had Sian been born in hospital she may have survived. Deputy coroner Donald Coutts-Wood recorded a narrative verdict and said the placenta was central to finding out whether the baby died of natural causes. He said he was unable to record a verdict of unlawful killing because he had to be satisfied “beyond reasonable doubt”.

"Without a proper finding of a cause of death I get nowhere near that,” he said.

"There are features of this case that are very, very unnerving and, dare I say, worrying, but without a cause of death I cannot pursue that line of thought."

The court heard a note found in Miss Kerns’ flat read: "I'm scared but I'm trying to block all this out. Why can't it go away, why can't it go to sleep and leave me alone?"

Miss Kerns claimed she wasn't thinking clearly - but sent a detailed message about work on the morning of the birth to colleagues. A psychologist said she was not suffering any mental illness.