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

Just Posted

Kootenay-Columbia MP talks throne speech, USMCA trade deal

Rob Morrison to open constituency office in Cranbrook at 800C Baker St. on Dec. 19

Kootenay-Columbia MP reacts to leader’s surprise resignation

The resignation of Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer caught members of his caucus by surprise

Graduation rates in Revelstoke 11 per cent above provincial average

Provincial average for high school graduation is 81 per cent, while it’s 92 per cent in Revelstoke

Cycling association and snowmobile club receive RMI funding

Revelstoke City Council delayed approving their applications earlier this year

Big Eddy School lots sold for $1.6 million

The Revelstoke school board approved the sales yesterday

‘Not a decision I came to lightly:’ Scheer to resign as Conservative leader

Decision comes after weeks of Conservative infighting following the October election

‘British Columbians are paying too much’: Eby directs ICBC to delay rate application

Attorney General David Eby calls for delay in order to see how two reforms play out

Vernon bylaw says Frosty has to go: store owner

Vernon Teach and Learn told to take down inflatable snowman

VIDEO: Octopus, bald eagle battle after bird ‘bites off more than it can chew’ in B.C. waters

B.C. crew films fight between the two feisty animals in Quatsino off north Vancouver Island

Couple who bought $120k banana duct-taped to wall say artwork will be ‘iconic’

Pair compared it to Warhol’s ‘Campbell’s Soup Cans,’ which was initially ‘met with mockery’

Race to replace Andrew Scheer could be a crowded one

Many familiar faces, such as Maxime Bernier, Jason Kenney, Doug Ford and Kevin O’Leary, have said no

North Okanagan-Shuswap MP surprised by Conservative leader’s resignation

Arnold predicts Conservative party will remain united in its quest to become government

Vernon business evacuated after gas line hit

A natural gas line was struck, emergency responders unsure of size

Most Read