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Tragic teen couple who hid secret baby’s body under bed shown ‘mercy’ by judge

A teenage couple whose secret baby died minutes after being born have been spared jail after burying the body at a nature reserve.

Jessica Cooper was just 16 years old when she delivered a baby boy at her home in Milton Keynes, Bucks., in March 2018, with the help of only her boyfriend Sebastian Bowerman, then 17.

But although the infant, which the couple named Garrick, moved his arms and legs when he was born, he was not breathing or crying – and he died just moments later, Aylesbury Crown Court heard on Tuesday.

Having hidden Jessica's pregnancy from both of their families, the couple were left alone and unsure what to do.

They wrapped their baby boy in towels and put him in a bin bag under Jessica's bed.

And a week later, Sebastian hid the infant in Blue Lagoon Nature Reserve, in Milton Keynes, while they considered a permanent location to bury their son.

But in June 2018, Sebastian finally confessed to his mother what had happened, and she called the police.

Jessica and Sebastian were both arrested – and on Tuesday this week the pair, now aged 19 and 21 respectively, pleaded guilty to preventing lawful and decent burial of a dead body.

But Judge Francis Sheridan took pity on them, saying: "If one thing is calling out for mercy, it is this."

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Both Jessica and Sebastian were given two-year community orders, and both were given 45-day rehabilitation activity requirements to help them recover from the mental trauma of the incident.

Representing Jessica, defence barrister Lucy Tapper said: "There is no punishment the court could impose which would outweigh what she has had imposed on herself.

"It won't stop today, it will continue."

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And Laban Leake, representing Sebastian, added: "He loved her, there's no doubt about that. They still care about each other, still support each other."

Prosecuting, Abigail Husbands told the court how when the baby was born, he had moved his arms and legs, but was not breathing or crying.

He died shortly afterwards. A post-mortem found that the baby was between 38 and 46 weeks old.

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The court also heard how Jessica still managed to do well in her GCSEs a month after the incident, and spends a lot of her time caring for her mother, who is seriously unwell.

Giving his remarks, judge Francis Sheridan called the ordeal a "tragedy".

He said: "I believe both of you will carry the loss of this young lad as a life sentence because it was conceived out of love; you couldn't bear to part with him.

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"You, Sebastian, went around there as a supportive boyfriend and as this baby was born it moved for seconds, minutes, and then life was extinct.

"If one thing is calling out for mercy, this is it."

Jessica has also been prescribed grief counselling by the judge.

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