Woman, 20, who didn’t know she was pregnant accidentally killed her baby as she collapsed on her after giving birth in a bathroom before hiding the body in a bush, inquest hears
- Lisa Blagden, 20, passed out due to loss of blood as she gave birth to Ivory Rose
- The mother, from Portsmouth, was unable to revive baby when she came round
- She cut umbilical cord with scissors, wrapped her in a towel and hid her in a bush
- Earlier she walked free from court after a district judge said she was ‘blameless’
A young mother who did not know she was pregnant accidentally killed her baby by collapsing on her after giving birth in her bathroom, an inquest heard today.
Lisa Blagden, 20, passed out through loss of blood as she gave birth to Ivory Rose in at home and was unable to revive the baby girl when she came round.
She cut the umbilical cord with a pair of scissors, wrapped her child in a towel and hid her in a nearby bush, which was visible from her bedroom window.
Miss Blagden walked free from court earlier this year after a district judge decided she was ‘blameless’ despite pleading guilty to concealing the baby’s death.
The court heard police interviewed the baby’s father, an unnamed 50 year old, who had ‘no interest in the baby’s birth or death,’ and who had ‘groomed’ Miss Blagden.
Today a coroner said despite her shock at giving birth Miss Blagden had demonstrated a ‘strong nurturing instinct as a mother’ before the child’s death.
Lisa Blagden, 20, passed out through loss of blood as she gave birth to Ivory Rose in at home and was unable to revive the baby girl when she came round. Pictured: Police on the scene in Portsmouth, Hampshire on January 25, 2020
She cut the umbilical cord with a pair of scissors, wrapped her child in a towel and hid her in a nearby bush, which was visible from her bedroom window. Pictured: Tributes left at the scene
The inquest in Portsmouth, Hampshire, heard Miss Blagden picked up and cuddled her daughter before resting her on the floor to clean her up.
She then tended to the bath she had started to run for herself before she unexpectedly gave birth.
Senior coroner for Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton Christopher Wilkinson said: ‘She fell when her newborn child was resting on the floor and the result of that was, a few minutes later when she came round, she found her child underneath her.
‘Ivory Rose came about her death as a result of, in effect, suffocation or lack of respiratory ability after her mother sadly collapsed on top of her.
‘That was entirely unexpected, entirely unintentional and it was a desperate, tragic end to a very short life which I know has had a significant effect of her mother and wider family.’
Miss Blagden walked free from court earlier this year after a district judge decided she was ‘blameless’ despite pleading guilty to concealing the baby’s death
The coroner said the fact Miss Blagden picked up and cuddled her child showed she had a strong nurturing instinct as a mother.
He said: ‘She immediately went to calm her [baby], cuddle her and warm her which gives an impression of a strong, instinctive, nurturing and protective nature as a mother.
‘There is no suggestion she projected ill will onto the child.’
He added Miss Blagden, from Portsmouth, found herself in a ‘desperate’ situation and was ‘fearful’ of what would happen to her.
He said: ‘Given what appears to be a traumatic and sad sequence of events, it is understandable that Lisa found herself in a desperate situation. She was desperate and fearful of what would happen.’
The inquest heard Miss Blagden feared the consequences she would face from the authorities as a result of her daughter’s death.
Ivory Rose was found on the street about 50m from Blagden’s home near Charles Dickens’ birthplace after it was concluded animals had moved her from the hedge.
Police interviewed Miss Blagden’s mother and her sister, who she lived with, as they conducted enquiries at nearby addresses.
They told the police nobody in the house had been pregnant, as Blagden had not told anyone at this point.
In fact, it was not until DNA samples matched Miss Blagden to the baby that she was arrested along with her mother and sister.
In an interview, police officers were the first people Miss Blagden told about the birth and death of her baby.
At the trial, Becky Strong, defending, said Miss Blagden had ‘been punished far, far greater’ than any potential court sentence.
She added: ‘She had formed a friendship with a male who was significantly older than her and she formed this friendship at a young age.
‘She looked at this person as a father figure, which she did not have at the time.
‘Over the course of the years, this changed from him, making this into a sexual nature. This was not something she wanted.
‘She had not discussed it with her family that it had become of a sexual nature.
‘She had absolutely no idea she was pregnant, she was still having periods on a regular basis, she had lost weight.’
Ms Strong said Miss Blagden thought the baby would be ok if she took it outside and so walked around with the child in her arms for a long time.
The coroner said the fact Miss Blagden picked up and cuddled her child showed she had a strong nurturing instinct as a mother. Pictured: Police looking for clues in January 2020
She said she chose the spot in the bush because it was her ‘safe space’ where she went whenever she was bullied as a child and could see it from her window.
The court heard Miss Blagden visited the baby every day for about four weeks after its death in December 2019, until the night before the body was taken by animals.
Blagden told the court by video link: ‘I was there every single day until the day she was found.’
Ms Strong added Blagden tried to tell her mother what had happened but the father of the baby had stopped her and ‘he reminded her that everyone would disown her’.
She said: ‘She was just a frightened, vulnerable girl not feeling she could turn to anyone to help her.
‘Her decisions, or lack of decisions at the time will haunt her.’
Miss Blagden did not attend today’s inquest but it was attended by her father Christopher who told the coroner his daughter is now getting ‘a bit better’.
At the earlier sentencing hearing at Portsmouth magistrates court, DDJ Roderick Hine decided to give Blagden an absolute discharge.
He said ‘she has already suffered enough punishment’ and was ‘blameless and so is her family’.
He said: ‘It’s difficult to imagine a more tragic circumstance… difficult to imagine what shock she must have felt when this baby was born in the bathroom.
‘It led to her collapsing, from loss of blood no doubt, and waking to find the baby was not breathing.
‘She is a young mother, abandoned by a man who I can only describe as despicable. He was clearly grooming her.’
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