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

Heavy snowfall expected on Coquihalla

Snow forecast for mountain highways

Four-day closure at Rutland/Acland Roads

Kelowna city crews will be building a roundabout at the new intersection

Day of Remembrance honours road traffic victims

People killed or seriously injured on Canadian roads remembered Sunday in Kelowna

Community Leader Awards: Coach Dean Kennedy

Kelowna Capital News Leader of the Year series on those that give back to the community

Snowfall warning between Merritt and Hope

As much as 20 centimteres of the white stuff is expected along a stretch of the Coquhialla

Drones used in search for clues about missing women

A volunteer search party was supported by professional drone operators

Forecast calls for a snowy Canadian winter

Canadians told to brace for a ‘classic’ Canadian winter with lots of snow

Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip celebrate 70th anniversary

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh are celebrating their platinum wedding anniversary

Charles Manson, leader of murderous ’60s cult, dead at 83

Charles Manson, whose cult slayings horrified world, dies

‘An officer and a gentleman’: Const. John Davidson is laid to rest

Thousands attend memorial service for slain Abbotsford Police officer

Holiday campaign helps Okanagan seniors

London Drugs’ Stocking Stuffers for Seniors Campaign kicks off Monday, Nov. 20

Making a difference at Okanagan Boys and Girls Club

Kelowna company president rolls up sleeves with local organization

Letter: Is it time to privative ICBC and BC Hydro?

West Kelowna letter-writer says it’s time the government gives up control of the corporations

VIDEO: Coquihalla reopens near Merritt

Detours are available via Hwy. 8 and Hwy. 1

Most Read