Woman, 19, accused of murdering son denies knowing she was pregnant, court hears

A teenage mother accused of murdering her newborn son has denied ever knowing she was pregnant, a court heard.

Paris Mayo (pictured) is accused of inflicting complex skull fractures on baby Stanley Mayo at her parents’ home in Springfield Avenue, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire on March 23 2019.

It is alleged that after inflicting the fractures, possibly caused by her foot on his head, Mayo then stuffed five pieces of cotton wool into his mouth – two of which were found deep in the throat.

After giving birth in a living room, Mayo is accused of putting Stanley’s body in a bin bag and leaving it on the front doorstep of their home before going upstairs to bed.

Stanley’s remains were discovered the following morning by Mayo’s mother who had looked inside the bloodstained bag.

Giving evidence for the first time in her trial, the 19-year-old said she never knew she was pregnant.

Worcester Crown Court heard Stanley had been conceived in the summer of 2018 and by the autumn Mayo was suffering from sickness and back and abdominal pain.

Bernard Richmond KC, defending, asked whether at any time before Stanley was born she knew she was pregnant.

“No, I was always scared of the thought I might be. I had never taken a test and it telling me I was pregnant,” Mayo told the jury.

“I was more suspicious I could have been, rather than actually knowing if I was or not.

“I would just try and make excuses to myself to what I thought was wrong. I was worried I might be as I was putting on weight, but I was trying to put it down to other things.

“I was eating bigger portions of food and eating throughout the day.”

Mr Richmond asked: “Was there a stage before the birth you said to yourself, ‘I am pregnant’?”

Mayo replied: “No.”

Describing her on and off sickness in the autumn of 2018, Mayo told the court: “I think there were times when I was sick, but it would go back and come away – it was irregular.

“I thought it was a stomach bug that went away, or I had eaten something that disagreed with me.”

Mr Richmond asked: “Did you ever equate that with being pregnant?”

Mayo replied: “No.”

Jurors were told Mayo had been taken to see her GP in October 2018 by her mother and during the examination was asked if she was having sex.

Mayo told the court: “She asked me at that time if I was having sex and at that time I told her no because at that time I wasn’t,” she said.

“I think I must have misunderstood how she was asking it. I felt like I could have told her if I felt comfortable enough, but I didn’t know how to go about it.”

Mr Richmond asked if her mother knew she had been having sex and Mayo replied: “I think she knew I had but she thought I had stopped having sex with people.

“I think she knew before that I had lost my virginity but believed I had stopped having sex with people.”

The jurors were told Stanley would have been conceived when Mayo was 14 with the teenager losing her virginity at 13.

Explaining why she started having sex so young, Mayo said: “I just thought it was a way to get people to like me because I was quite insecure about the way I looked and the way I was made to feel about myself at home because my family situation was quite bad.

“I was always being patronised and belittled and told I was worthless. I just wanted to feel a bit more validated and the way I felt to get that was to have sex with people.”

Mayo told the jury she only acknowledged to herself being pregnant shortly before she gave birth.

“He wasn’t crying or making any noise and his eyes weren’t open,” she said.

“I started to panic because he wasn’t crying or making a noise and I got really scared. It all happened so fast, I don’t really remember a lot about it.

“I just remember he hit his head and that was really it. The cord was around his throat when I undone it and that was when it was broken.”

Mr Richmond asked: “Stanley had skull fractures. Did you do them to him deliberately?”

Mayo replied: “No.”

Asked about putting cotton wool balls in Stanley’s mouth, she replied: “To me it looked like there was stuff coming out of his mouth. When I was questioned I said two because that’s all I remember doing.”

Asked how she felt about it all, Mayo said: “It makes me feel really horrible because I knew I didn’t want to hurt him.

“I do feel stupid that I didn’t go and tell anyone and get help. I loved him. I always think about what he would be like and how he would have been.”

Mayo denied killing Stanley and insisted she believed he was not alive when he was born.

Mr Richmond asked: “At any stage did you actually think Stanley was alive?”

“No,” she replied.

Mayo explained her father was in poor health, including heart problems and diabetes, and died in April 2019.

Prior to his death, she would help care for him and would prepare meals and do the shopping and tidy the house but described him as a “bully”.

“He put a lot of pressure on us to be the kids he wanted us to be, rather than what we wanted to be,” she said.

“It was like he thrived on us being scared of him because he knew he had the control over us and that authority over us and we would do everything he wanted because we were scared of upsetting him.

“He would shout at us and tell us we were not kids of his.”

Asked if she loved her father and whether she missed him, Mayo fought back tears and said: “I loved my Dad.”

Mayo, of Ruardean, Gloucestershire, denies murder and the trial continues.

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