KILLER MUM'S SECRET ABORTION; Pregnancy Ended during Babies Case

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), May 3, 2003 | Go to article overview

KILLER MUM'S SECRET ABORTION; Pregnancy Ended during Babies Case


Byline: ANNIE BROWN

KILLER mum Susan MacLeod had an abortion while awaiting trial for murdering her three babies.

MacLeod, 26, who kept her babies' rotting corpses in her flat, was spared jail yesterday when a judge agreed she should receive psychiatric treatment.

At an earlier hearing, MacLeod admitted the culpable homicide of two of her babies - a boy and girl - and keeping their bodies in bin liners in her flat for almost five years.

She was originally charged with murdering three babies which she gave birth to between 1997 and 2001.

But she pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of the culpable homicide of two of them by failing to obtain ante- natal care and failing to care properly for them at birth.

Her not guilty plea to murdering the third baby at her rented flat in Summertown Road, Govan, Glasgow, was accepted by the prosecution.

Now the Daily Record can reveal that MacLeod, of North Bragar, on the island of Lewis, got pregnant for a fourth time in April 2001, the same month that she was charged.

It is believed she was already pregnant when she was arrested and held in custody at Cornton Vale Prison, Stirlingshire, for more than a month.

She was given bail in May 2001 on condition that she lived with her parents in North Bragar.

But she left Lewis when she was 18 weeks pregnant in August 2001 to have a termination at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.

A friend of the family said last night: "It beggars belief that she would get pregnant a fourth time. She made no effort at all to avoid it happening."

Since she was a teenager, MacLeod was adamant she would never go on the Pill, saying she feared it would affect her fertility later in life.

The source went on: "It would have been ridiculous for her to have to tell a court that she got pregnant again.

"Her parents were devastated but there was no alternative."

MacLeod wept tears of relief in the dock at the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday when she was told she was not being sent to prison.

Judge Lord Bracadale ordered her to undergo six months of intensive psychiatric treatment before coming back to court.

He described the infants' deaths as "strange and disturbing".

Gordon Jackson QC, defending, had pleaded with Lord Bracadale not to jail her, claiming she was on "a psychological knife edge" and could end up in a mental hospital if sent to prison.

Mr Jackson told the court MacLeod had suffered horrific abuse as a child.

Yesterday, the judge said he had been persuaded that the best course of action was to send MacLeod for psychiatric treatment at the renowned Douglas Inch Centre. …

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