Mother who buried stillborn son under a tree to escape jail

Angela Owen
Angela Owen
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A woman who claims she secretly buried her stillborn baby son in the grounds of a Barkisland mansion after giving birth in traumatic circumstances is due to be sentenced next week.

But 47-year-old Angela Owen will not be sent to prison for that crime and other offences of fraud.

During a hearing at Bradford Crown Court Judge Robert Bartfield said he was not minded to send Owen immediately to prison for the offending which dates back to a period between 2001 and 2004 after being told that she had already spent 11 days in custody and a further 317 days on a home curfew.

The judge said the maximum sentence for all the offences after a trial would have been two years in prison and that had to be reduced because of her guilty pleas and mitigation.

Because time in custody and on a curfew would count towards any sentence the judge said he would effectively be sending the mother-of-two back to prison for two or three months and that did not strike him as serving the interests of justice or anybody else.

Owen was arrested last year following an appeal for information on the BBC’s Crimewatch programme - six years after workmen renovating Howroyd Hall made the gruesome discovery of the child’s remains.

She was traced to her new home in Glastonbury, Somerset and admitted concealing the birth of the boy and preventing his lawful burial as well as a number of other offences of fraud.

But the court heard claims that Owen had been the victim of an abusive relationship at the time of the offending and she had given birth on her own after allegedly being assaulted.

Judge Bartfield was told that psychiatrists for the defence and prosecution had come to conflicting conclusions about Owen’s mental state at the time of the child’s birth in 2001.

But barrister Kirstie Watson, for Owen, submitted that her client had gone into labour following the assault and that the trauma of the subsequent birth led to her concealing it.

The dead child was buried under a tree in the grounds of the property where she was living at the time.

Owen then went on to use the name Angela Hobson to obtain a Lotus Elise car by deception, between November 2002 and December 2003, and credit services from the Co-op Bank, between October 9 2002 and January 31 2003.

She used the name Emma Smith to run a pub in Oldham between December 2003 and January 2004 and to try to get a driving licence in January 2004. And she claimed to be Carla Geissler to try to get a passport in March 2004.

In April 2003, Owen made off from the Pennine Manor Hotel in Scapegoat Hill, without paying the £325.40 bill for accommodation, food and telephone calls.

At a previous hearing before Bradford Crown Court Owen admitted the charges on the basis that she had been the victim of domestic abuse at the time.

Owen is expected to be sentenced at a hearing on May 2.