A WOMAN stabbed her newborn baby girl to death seconds after she was born and put her lifeless body in the kitchen bin, a jury has been told.

Preston Crown Court heard Rachel Julie Tunstill stabbed her newborn daughter Mia Kelly 15 times in the bathroom of the Burnley flat she shared with her partner Ryan Kelly.

Prosecutors claim Tunstill carried out the murder as her partner of nine years sat oblivious in the next room playing on his X-box.

Baby Mia was stabbed to death on January 14.


But prosecutor Louise Blackwell told the court that in December Tunstill, who has a degree in psychology and a masters in forensic psychology, had told Mr Kelly she had had a miscarriage.

And when she went into labour on the toilet of the flat they shared in Wellington Court, Burnley, the 26-year-old told Mr Kelly she was having another miscarriage and that she didn't need any medical attention.

But the prosecution said Tunstill, who was the deputy manager at Benjamin House Care Home in Burnley, did ask him for a pair of scissors, which she used to fatally stab her baby.

The court heard it was only when police arrested Mr Kelly, 31, on suspicion of murder on January 16 that he found out his partner had given birth to baby Mia and the horrific circumstances of her death.

Mrs Blackwell said: "On January 14 the defendant had been at work at Benjamin House. She had gone home that evening. Then in the bathroom she had given birth to Mia Kelly. There Mia Kelly met her death."

The court heard Tunstill, who wept in the dock, had told Mr Kelly she had had a miscarriage in March 2016 before telling him that she had fallen pregnant again in December after herbal tea had interfered with the morning after pill.

But shortly after she said she had had another miscarriage.

On January 14, the jury heard Tunstill told Mr Kelly, who works as a forklift driver, that 'it was happening again' in relation to a miscarriage.

Mrs Blackwell said Tunstill gave birth to baby Mia on the toilet and that the child had dropped into the basin.

Tunstill told police she had not flushed baby Mia 'as she had done with her previous miscarriage', but held the baby to her face to see if she was still breathing.

The prosecutor said she also told police the baby had a small cut to the back of its neck but offered no explanation as to how it got there.

The jury heard the defendant never attempted to revive the baby, claiming she didn't know how. However work records showed she had successfully passed a first aid course in adult and child resuscitation.

Giving evidence, Mr Kelly described how Tunstill made little noise during the three hours she was in the bathroom, but for around 20 minuted he heard an unfamiliar high-pitched sound, 'which was like water being squeezed out of a plastic bottle'.

Th court heard once baby Mia was dead, Tunstill wrapped her body in two plastic bags, walked past Mr Kelly, and placed the body in the bin.

The authorities only became aware of baby Mia's death on January 16 after Tunstill went to Burnley General Hospital, claiming she had felt an abnormality, while showering, and raising concerns a miscarriage was not complete.

The jury was told examinations showed the abnormal growth was the umbilical chord still attached to the placenta.

Mrs Blackwell said: "Tunstill told nurses that she had passed a baby and it had not been breathing.

"The chord had snapped and she had picked up the baby.

"It had turned blue and she couldn't find a pulse. She placed the baby on the floor, while she sorted herself out. Then she bagged up the baby and placed it in the bin."

Tunstill told nurses that she had only been pregnant for around five weeks but more intrusive examinations suggested she had been pregnant for longer.

Mrs Blackwell said it is the prosecution's case that she had been pregnant for between 36 and 37 weeks.

The jury was told police went to the hospital and the defendant allegedly told officers that Mr Kelly had put baby Mia in an outside bin.

As a result, police went to Wellington Court, arrested Mr Kelly and searched a number of wheelie bins. It was only when officers went inside the flat that they discovered the body in the bin.

The court heard how police seized Tunstill's iPad and mobile phone and found a number of internet searches on the devices, including 'bringing about abortion', 'exchanging pounds into dollars' and about a man who had been arrested for the murder his own children.

During a performance meeting with her boss at Benjamin House in March 2016, the jury heard Tunstill became emotional and said she had stomach pains. During the course of the meeting her boss was said to have told her that there were rules about working in a mental health facility while pregnant.

Defending Simon Kealey said: "There is no dispute that the baby was born alive and that the baby died as a result of a number of stab wounds. But the precise process by which that occurred the defendant has no recollection of."

Tunstill denies murder.

Read the coverage of Day Two of the case: Partner of a woman accused of murdering newborn baby was so engrossed in his X-box game he didn't question why she wanted scissors, court heard