002/Quirk

Mother sentenced after death of babies

07/12/2010

Merseyside mum sentenced

A Merseyside mother, who pleaded guilty to concealing the birth of four babies in the 1980s and 90s, has been sentenced to a two-year supervision order at Liverpool Crown Court.

Bernadette Quirk, 55, from St Helens, admitted hiding two babies in a red plastic bin in her bedroom, although three were found, and acknowledged the remains of a further child were buried in a family grave without the knowledge of the authorities.

The prosecution case had established that Quirk was the mother of all four babies who were born full-term. Three of the children were identified as female; however a thorough forensic examination could not establish the gender of the fourth child.

Helen Morris, Crown Advocate for Merseyside Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said: "Investigations showed that Quirk was living a chaotic lifestyle during the time that the crimes were committed following the break-up of her marriage. She did not seek help from her GP or local hospital during her pregnancies and did not register the births with the appropriate authorities.  As a result there is no official record of these children.

"In deciding on the charge, I took into account all available evidence including that of forensic experts, witness statements and, of course, what the defendant herself said about these events.

"I made the decision to charge the defendant with four offences of concealment of birth because, despite a thorough investigation by Merseyside Police, we could not prove that any of the babies had lived independently of their mother."

These matters only came to light after Quirk's daughter discovered the babies' remains on opening the red plastic bin whilst preparing for a house move.

Quirk pleaded guilty to all four offences in September 2010.

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For more information contact Sharon King, Group Communications Manager, CPS Mersey-Cheshire, on 0151 239 6465.