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Woman stabbed newborn baby to death while boyfriend played Xbox game, court told

Preston Crown Court, where the trial is taking place Credit: Google Maps

A forklift driver was "engrossed" playing a horror video game while his girlfriend allegedly stabbed their newborn daughter to death after she gave birth in their bathroom, a jury has heard.

Ryan Kelly, 31, admitted his attention was focused on the Xbox game The Walking Dead while Rachel Tunstill, 26, spent up to three hours alone in the bathroom before it was said she put the body of the youngster in plastic bags and placed it in the kitchen bin of their home in Burnley, Lancashire.

Preston Crown Court heard Mr Kelly assumed she was dealing with the effects of a miscarriage that she told him she had suffered a month before.

When she was later medically examined, it was found the pregnancy had reached nearly full term, with the Crown alleging she was either 36 or 37 weeks pregnant when she delivered baby Mia Kelly on the night of January 14.

The only noise Mr Kelly said he heard coming from the bathroom was a sound "like squeezing water out of a plastic bottle".

At some stage his girlfriend, a mental healthcare boss in the town, asked him for a pair of scissors, which he passed to her through the doorway and she replied: "Thanks babe."

In excess of 15 puncture wounds were later found on examination of Mia's body, with traces of the newborn's blood found on the same pair of scissors, the jury heard.

Tunstill, who has a master's degree in forensic psychology, had experienced a miscarriage at their flat in Wellington Court in March last year, which was said to have caused her a lot of pain.

Giving evidence on Thursday, Mr Kelly said he was in the living room at the time and again was "most likely" playing on his Xbox console.

He said he supported her with the trauma and was "always there if she needed anything" but added he didn't remember what he actually did.

In October or November last year, she announced she was pregnant again, he said, but that before Christmas he picked her up from work one evening and she told him she had "lost the baby".

He denied a suggestion from Tunstill's barrister, Simon Kealey QC, that that conversation never took place.

Mr Kealey said: "If she had a miscarriage in December, what on earth was going on January 14?"

The witness replied: " I presumed it was part of the process that happened. I had no idea how it worked."

He agreed he was "engrossed" in playing The Walking Dead - which featured zombie sounds, screams and shouts, he said - while she was unwell with stomach pains and was later sick on the carpet.

Mr Kelly denied she was crying out in the pain in the bathroom and said he only heard her call out for a pair of scissors.

He said he later saw blood around her waist, on towels and on the floor after she came out of the bathroom.

Mr Kelly said he checked on her on two, maybe three, occasions, and explained: "She kept telling me she was fine so I took her at her word. I thought she had dealt with a miscarriage before so she was equipped to deal with another one."

After she had cleaned herself up and the bathroom, the couple cuddled in bed and she fell asleep, he told the court.

Tunstill denies murder.

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