Teen mum will not be charged after inquest rules her baby was alive when she wrapped him in plastic and put him in bin

A teenage girl who wrapped her baby in clothes and a plastic bag and put him in a wheelie bin will not be charged after a court ruled the newborn was still alive when he was disposed of.

Friday, 19th March 2021, 3:45 pm
Updated Saturday, 20th March 2021, 9:14 am

Zoe Rae was just 15-years-old when she gave birth to Oliver Rae secretly in the bathroom of her Garstang Road North home in Wesham.

She used a pair of scissors to cut the umbilical cord, wrapped the baby in clothes and cleaned up the blood using towels, which she disposed of.

At around 1pm, she took Oliver - who was born in a poor condition - downstairs and placed him on the kitchen table, where he was seen by the young boy Miss Rae was babysitting. When he asked her what it was, she told him it was a doll.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Police investigating the death of Oliver Rae at Garstang Road North, Wesham, in August 2018

In a police interview, the boy said he believed Miss Rae had lied to him, and said he had heard a baby crying shortly before entering the kitchen.

When the boy left, Miss Rae further wrapped Oliver in a plastic bag and placed him in a wheelie bin outside.

In a three-day inquest in Blackpool this week, three different doctors said it could not be determined whether baby Oliver had suffocated or not, as such a death would leave behind no evidence. However, proof of oxygen deprivation around the time of death was found in his brain and lungs.

After hearing witness evidence, coroner Andrew Cousins found that he was still alive when he was put in the wheelie bin.

The court heard that Lancashire police twice tried to charge Miss Rae with Oliver's murder, but on both occasions the case was dropped by the CPS.

A CPS spokesman said: “Following a careful review of the evidence provided by Lancashire police in this case, we have concluded that there is insufficient evidence for any criminal charges to be brought in this case.

“In considering offences of infanticide and manslaughter we took into consideration all the expert evidence gathered by the police. We concluded that it could not be proved to a criminal standard of proof, which is higher than that of an inquest, that any acts or omissions by the baby’s mother caused or significantly contributed to the baby’s death.

“We also considered offences of concealment of birth and prevention of a burial, but the specific legal elements for these criminal offences were not met."

Detective chief inspector Gareth Willis said: “First and foremost my thoughts remain with those affected by these traumatic events. This was a very sensitive and complex inquiry and after a full and thorough police investigation a file of evidence was presented to the Crown Prosecution Service who advised that no criminal charges would be brought.

“The judgement from the coroner brings these matters to a conclusion.”

Miss Rae had been in an intimate relationship with her boyfriend, Jay Kirby, in the months leading up to her pregnancy.

In February 2018 a search was made on Miss Rae’s phone for ‘how to end a pregnancy in the first week’.

In June 2018 another search for ‘how to abort at home' was made.

Despite this, she denied ever suspecting she was pregnant. She said: "During that period of time I remember being really scared. I didn't want to talk to anyone. I didn't know what to do."

Expert witness Dr Ruth Gottstein said Miss Rae was probably 'in denial'.