Woman abandoned secret baby on doorstep fearing he was the result of affair

COURT: Leigh-Anne Varley pictured leaving Peterlee Magistrates Court
COURT: Leigh-Anne Varley pictured leaving Peterlee Magistrates Court

A woman concealed her pregnancy, gave birth in secret and then abandoned her newborn on a doorstep because she feared the baby was the result of an affair.

Leigh-Anne Varley left a note with her boy which claimed: “Please take care of my baby. Please don’t go public, my husband is violent. He will kill me.”

Please take care of my baby. Please don’t go public, my husband is violent. He will kill me.

The note left by Leigh-Anne Varley with her baby

Hours later, after her husband returned home from work and she had gone and carried out her own shift, the couple and their two children booked flights for a “once-in-a-lifetime” holiday to Disneyland.

Peterlee Magistrates’ Court heard the 36-year-old, from Park View in Horden, had researched how to carry out a home birth and had prepared by putting together towels, scissors and other items.

The bench was told the mum, whose six-year-old son was in the house at the time of the birth while her 16-year-old daughter was out, did housework in after labour began.

She then gave birth in the bathroom, later disposing of the placenta in a wheelie bin, and around five hours later, left the infant wrapped in a blanket and dressing gown on a doorstep of a nearby flat.

She knocked on the door at 5.45am, back on May 28, in the hope someone would find him.

She later spotted an ambulance there and that police had taped off the area.

Sarah Traynor, prosecuting, said Varley, who sobbed during the hearing, had hidden her pregnancy from her husband by saying she had ovarian cysts and had faked a negative pregnancy test by dipping it in the toilet.

Miss Traynor said: “It’s a very sad case indeed.

“Following the discovery of the baby, inquiries were carried out by the police to try and identify the mother by DNA testing of the baby and that led to the identification of his mother.

“Police spoke to her and she said it wasn’t her son, but then accepted it was her son.

“She said she had an affair and she believed this baby was as a result of that affair.”

Varley also told police she had realised she was expecting too late in the pregnancy to have a termination and also had epilepsy.

The mum admitted a charge of assault, ill treatment or neglect of a child at a previous hearing.

Sheila Ramshaw, mitigating, told the bench Varley’s concern was for her loved ones following the birth and had not wanted to break up the family unit.

She added: “What you do know is that this poor lady has suffered quite a lot over the last several months.

“Not withstanding all of that, today she is before you, and you can see the way she is.

“This is more purely for her family that she feels the situation has become overbearing for her.

“This lady is of impeccable character and this is something which will never come before the court again.”

She added Varley had suffered mental health issues and she was now due to receive help.

The bench sentenced her to 14 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, and ordered her to pay £85 court costs, £180 criminal court charge and £60 a victim surcharge.