Burnley woman jailed for life for murder of newborn baby

A woman has been found guilty of the murder of her newborn baby.
Rachel TunstillRachel Tunstill
Rachel Tunstill

Rachel Tunstill (26), of Wellington Court, Burnley, was convicted after a trial at Preston Crown Court.

She was given a life sentence and ordered to serve a minimum of 20 years imprisonment.

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Police were called at shortly before 3pm on Monday, January 16th to reports of a sudden death at an address in Wellington Court.

Officers attended and sadly the body of a new born baby girl was found inside a bin in the kitchen of the property. A post mortem examination showed she had suffered multiple stab wounds caused by a pair of scissors.

Tunstill and a 30-year-old man were both arrested on suspicion of murder. He was subsequently released without charge after police satisfied themselves he had no involvement in the baby’s death. He and the baby’s wider family continue to be supported by specially trained officers.

Following consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service Tunstill was charged with the baby’s murder.

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Det. Chief Insp. Jill Johnston, of Lancashire Police, who led the investigation, said: “This was a truly horrific incident involving the callous and brutal murder of a defenceless new-born baby. I cannot begin to understand why Rachel Tunstill committed this horrendous act.

“The person who should not be forgotten in this is the victim. This poor child should have been able to look to Rachel Tunstill for the protection and love of a parent. Instead this defenceless baby found herself subjected to the dreadful injuries which sadly caused her death.

“My thoughts remain with the wider family of baby Mia who have been through so much over the last year. They have conducted themselves with tremendous dignity and I hope that this conviction and sentence can offer them some comfort as they try to move on with their lives.

“Finally I would like the jury for their careful consideration of this case and all of the police officers and staff involved in this very difficult and upsetting enquiry. They have conducted themselves with great professionalism. I would also like to thank again the community in Burnley for their co-operation and understanding throughout this time.”