Kamloops teen mother kills baby and stuffs body in box, court hears

Courtney Saul, 19, had been studying at Thompson Rivers University

A 19-year-old woman will serve two years of probation for the death of her baby.

A mother who drowned her newborn son in a sink before leaving her home to write a university exam has avoided time behind bars, though a judge described her actions as “abhorrent.”

Courtney Saul, 19, was sentenced to two years’ probation in provincial court in Kamloops.

Saul was a student at Thompson Rivers University when her baby, George Carlos, was born on Dec. 15, 2011.

Court heard Saul gave birth alone in the bathroom of a basement suite where she was living.

She held the baby for some time, but she had an exam that day, Crown lawyer Will Burrows said. Because she had the exam, she didn’t know what to do. She finally decided she should drown the baby. She did that in the sink and then she went to her exam.

Afterwards, Saul wrapped the baby’s body in a T-shirt and a shower curtain and placed it in an empty computer box. She put the box inside a backpack, which she placed in the trunk of her car.

Saul would later tell investigators she hoped to bury the baby in her hometown of Lillooet.

The body was discovered three weeks later, when she loaned her car to an acquaintance, who was involved in a collision.

Firefighters opened the trunk to cut power as a safety precaution. A police officer noticed a backpack in the trunk and opened it, revealing a computer box with an odd bulge. He opened the box and found the baby’s body.

Saul was later arrested. While in custody, police recorded a conversation she had with her mother.

During her meeting with her mom, Ms. Saul admits she’d had the baby, Burrows said. She said she didn’t know she was pregnant until very late in the pregnancy.

Saul confessed to police and was charged with infanticide. Court heard the charge was stayed a short time later and, in 2015, Saul was charged with second-degree murder.

In August, following a decision from the Supreme Court of Canada earlier this year, Saul’s charges were downgraded back to infanticide.

She told police the pregnancy was the result of a sexual assault. She said she’d passed out at a party and woke up without her clothes on.

She believed someone had sexual intercourse with her while she was unconscious, Burrows said.

Saul and her mother cried in court as the offence was detailed.

Defence lawyer Murray Armstrong noted the circumstances.

This is certainly a tragedy in all senses of the word, he said, adding Saul remains troubled by the events but is moving forward.

Nothing is going to change what happened, but certainly now Ms. Saul is not a risk to anybody, he said. In terms of punishment, there’s no punishment greater than the guilt and remorse she feels.

When asked by Judge Len Marchand whether she had anything to say, Saul, who has since moved back to Lillooet, managed six words before crying.

“I know I made a mistake,” she said.

Marchand noted Saul’s remorse, but also the seriousness of her offence.

It is an abhorrent act and it was inflicted on a vulnerable and completely helpless person, he said.

But Marchand said mitigating factors, including Saul’s lack of a criminal history and the circumstances of how she became pregnant, were powerful.

In addition to her two-year probation term, Saul was ordered to surrender a sample of her DNA to a national criminal database.

Tim Petruk, Kamloops This Week, The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

Firefighters and RCMP are on scene at a fire on Douglas Street. (Jocelyn Doll - Revelstoke Review)
PHOTOS: Firefighters battling blaze on Douglas Street

RCMP are also on scene and blocking off access to the street

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 18 COVID-19 cases, highest daily count since July

The total of COVID-19 cases in the region is now at 662

A Kelowna clinic decided to immunize their patients in a drive-thru flu clinic earlier this month. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Interior Health anticipates increase in flu vaccinations this season

Some 300,000 doses of flu vaccine ready for distribution across Southern Interior

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Voters are saying they felt safe voting in person despite the current pandemic. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Central Okanagan voters talk about their pandemic election experience

Despite an election taking place during COVID-19, residents said they felt safe voting in person

Cole Collingwood casts his mock ballot at Vernon’s Mission Hill Elementary School ahead of the provincial election Oct. 24, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
PHOTOS: Okanagan students cast mock election ballots

At Mission Hill Elementary, the election is a chance to learn about the democratic process

Thanks to efforts by a Kelowna shelter and Elections BC, anyone who wishes to can vote in the 2020 BC Provincial Election, even if they don’t have a fixed address. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Kelowna group ensures people experiencing homelessness can vote

Shelter supervisor says voting ‘a fundamental right’ even for those without a fixed address

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Big White Ski Resort photo)
Big White receives 21 cm of snow in 24 hours

Resort’s snow base 41 cm deep, one month until opening day

The deer were allegedly shot within Princeton town limits, late at night. Black Press File Photo.
Armed man, in full camouflage, allegedly shoots deer in downtown Princeton

‘The list of charges goes on and on,’ said RCMP Sgt. Rob Hughes

Most Read