Kamloops teen mother kills baby and stuffs body in box, court hears

Courtney Saul, 19, had been studying at Thompson Rivers University

A 19-year-old woman will serve two years of probation for the death of her baby.

A mother who drowned her newborn son in a sink before leaving her home to write a university exam has avoided time behind bars, though a judge described her actions as “abhorrent.”

Courtney Saul, 19, was sentenced to two years’ probation in provincial court in Kamloops.

Saul was a student at Thompson Rivers University when her baby, George Carlos, was born on Dec. 15, 2011.

Court heard Saul gave birth alone in the bathroom of a basement suite where she was living.

She held the baby for some time, but she had an exam that day, Crown lawyer Will Burrows said. Because she had the exam, she didn’t know what to do. She finally decided she should drown the baby. She did that in the sink and then she went to her exam.

Afterwards, Saul wrapped the baby’s body in a T-shirt and a shower curtain and placed it in an empty computer box. She put the box inside a backpack, which she placed in the trunk of her car.

Saul would later tell investigators she hoped to bury the baby in her hometown of Lillooet.

The body was discovered three weeks later, when she loaned her car to an acquaintance, who was involved in a collision.

Firefighters opened the trunk to cut power as a safety precaution. A police officer noticed a backpack in the trunk and opened it, revealing a computer box with an odd bulge. He opened the box and found the baby’s body.

Saul was later arrested. While in custody, police recorded a conversation she had with her mother.

During her meeting with her mom, Ms. Saul admits she’d had the baby, Burrows said. She said she didn’t know she was pregnant until very late in the pregnancy.

Saul confessed to police and was charged with infanticide. Court heard the charge was stayed a short time later and, in 2015, Saul was charged with second-degree murder.

In August, following a decision from the Supreme Court of Canada earlier this year, Saul’s charges were downgraded back to infanticide.

She told police the pregnancy was the result of a sexual assault. She said she’d passed out at a party and woke up without her clothes on.

She believed someone had sexual intercourse with her while she was unconscious, Burrows said.

Saul and her mother cried in court as the offence was detailed.

Defence lawyer Murray Armstrong noted the circumstances.

This is certainly a tragedy in all senses of the word, he said, adding Saul remains troubled by the events but is moving forward.

Nothing is going to change what happened, but certainly now Ms. Saul is not a risk to anybody, he said. In terms of punishment, there’s no punishment greater than the guilt and remorse she feels.

When asked by Judge Len Marchand whether she had anything to say, Saul, who has since moved back to Lillooet, managed six words before crying.

“I know I made a mistake,” she said.

Marchand noted Saul’s remorse, but also the seriousness of her offence.

It is an abhorrent act and it was inflicted on a vulnerable and completely helpless person, he said.

But Marchand said mitigating factors, including Saul’s lack of a criminal history and the circumstances of how she became pregnant, were powerful.

In addition to her two-year probation term, Saul was ordered to surrender a sample of her DNA to a national criminal database.

Tim Petruk, Kamloops This Week, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

UPDATE: Highway 1 closed east of Revelstoke, set to reopen at 7:30 p.m.

Highway 1 is closed east of Revelstoke near the west entrance to… Continue reading

Avalanche control scheduled today on Highway 1 east and west of Revelstoke

Avalanche control work is scheduled today for two different locations along Highway… Continue reading

Golden Rockets win one on the road

The Golden Rockets faced off against the Creston Valley Thundercats on the… Continue reading

Golden’s cannabis zoning public hearing closes without fuss

The Town of Golden hosted a public hearing to introduce cannabis retail… Continue reading

Golden’s francophone school zoning amendment public hearing comes to a close

Members of the public attended the town council meeting on December 4… Continue reading

Cannabis gift ideas for this holiday season

Put the green in happy holidays, now that cannabis is legal in Canada

‘People talk about deep sadness:’ Scientists study climate change grief

Some call it environmental grief, some call it solastalgia — a word coined for a feeling of homesickness when home changes around you.

As protectors abandon Trump, investigation draws closer

Cohen was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for an array of crimes.

Senate delays start of sittings in new home, delaying start of broadcasts

The Senate and House of Commons are moving into temporary homes for the next decade as a result of long-planned and badly needed renovations to the Centre Block.

UK leader seeks EU lifeline after surviving confidence vote

EU leaders gather for a two-day summit, beginning Thursday, which will center on the Brexit negotiations.

French police try to catch attack suspect dead or alive

Local authorities increase death toll to three, including 13 wounded and five in serious condition

BCHL’ers blanked by Russia at World Junior A Challenge

Canada West loses battle of the unbeaten teams in the preliminary round

Second Canadian missing in China after questioning by authorities

Michael Spavor, founder of a non-profit that organizes cultural-exchange trips to North Korea, “is presently missing in China”

Warning issued as forecast calls for 20-foot waves in Tofino

Dangerous waves, strong currents and upper-shoreline flooding expected for Tofino-Ucluelet area

Most Read