Burnley mother Rachel Tunstill who was jailed twice for stabbing her newborn baby to death dies in prison
Rachel Tunstill, who told her boyfriend she had miscarried, but gave birth alone in the bathroom of the flat they shared in Burnley before murdering the newborn, died in HMP Styal in Cheshire.
In 2019 Tunstill was jailed for life after being found guilty for the second time of the murder of her newborn baby girl.
Mr Justice King, sitting at Liverpool Crown Court, recommended that the 28-year-old should serve a minimum 17 years before being considered for parole. Tunstill was convicted following a retrial at Liverpool Crown Court which lasted seven weeks.
She was originally convicted of the child’s murder in June 2017 but in a subsequent appeal in London at the Court of Appeal, Lord Justice Treacy ruled that the jury in the case should have been offered a verdict of infanticide to consider.
Tunstill gave birth to baby Mia Kelly on the evening of Saturday, January 14th 2017, in the bathroom of her home in Burnley.
She had told her partner that she was suffering a miscarriage and despite offering to get her medical help, she declined and said she would handle the situation herself. Each time he went to check on her, she repeated that she didn’t need any assistance.
She asked for a pair of scissors but did not say what these were for. These are believed to have been used to inflict a total of 15 stab wounds to baby Mia.
Two days after having Mia, Tunstill attended Burnley General Hospital for medical attention but told nurses there that she had just suffered a miscarriage at nine weeks pregnant. Upon being examined, it was apparent that she had given birth.
Police were notified and attended the hospital. Tunstill, who had a masters degree in forensic psychology, told an officer that she had only found out she was pregnant on Wednesday, January 11th, the baby was stillborn and she did not know whether it was a boy or girl.
Officers attended her address on Wellington Court and found baby Mia’s body in the kitchen bin concealed inside a plastic bag.
Tunstill claimed she thought she had suffered a miscarriage and could find no signs of life with the baby. Her defence team also said she was suffering from psychiatric problems at the time of the incident.
Tunstill and a 30-year-old man, the baby’s father, were both arrested on suspicion of murder.
He was subsequently released without charge after detectives satisfied themselves that he had no involvement in Mia’s death and he did not know she was expecting his child.