Woman sentenced for abandoning her 'secret baby'

Leigh-Anne Varley outside court

A court has heard how a woman gave birth in the bathroom of her home before leaving the baby on a neighbour's doorstep.

Leigh-Anne Varley, 36 from Horden in County Durham, went into labour on May 28. Her son, 6, was asleep in the house and her husband and teenage daughter were out.

She wrapped the baby in dressing gowns. She had intended to take the baby to a walk-in centre but couldn't leave her other son asleep alone, so she left it on a neighbour's doorstep.

She left it with a note saying "please take care of my baby boy, please do not go public..."

The court heard she believed the baby was the result of an affair, and that she was too far along to terminate the pregnancy. She had concealed the pregnancy from her family saying the bloating was due to ovarian cysts.

The court heard also how she feared breaking up the family unit and that she was concerned about the impact on her daughter who was sitting her GCSEs at the time.

She pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and was given a 14 week suspended sentence for neglect and abandonment of a child at Peterlee Magistrates court.