A teenage girl who murdered her newborn son by fracturing his skull and stuffing cotton wool in his mouth when she was just 15 has today been jailed for life with a minimum of 12 years at Worcester Crown Court.
Last week, Paris Mayo, now 19, was convicted of the horrific murder of baby Stanley by inflicting complex skull fractures on him after giving birth in the living room of her parent’s house alone in Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, in March 2019.
After the bone breaks, believed to have been caused by her foot on his head, she then stuffed five pieces of cotton wool into his mouth – two of which were found lodged deep in the throat.
Mayo then put Stanley’s lifeless body in a bin bag and left it on the front doorstep of their home before going upstairs to bed.
Chillingly, the killer had texted her older brother George Mayo saying: ‘When you go outside, can you put the black bag in the bin, it’s just full of sick from last night, please.’
Mayo has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 12 years for her crime
Paris Mayo, now 19, cried in the dock after jurors at Worcester Crown Court found her guilty
His remains were discovered the following morning by Mayo’s mother who called the police.
Her defence lawyer, Bernard Richmond KC, said Mayo was a ‘pathetic and vulnerable individual’ who was ‘immature’ and had not been supported by people around her.
Before the judge passed his sentence, Mr Richmond said: ‘When faced with a decision she had to make, she did not face up to it. By the time she had to, the decision she made was woefully, woefully wrong.
‘This was a 15-year-old girl who was vulnerable and used by people around her and wasn’t supported.’
He added that Mayo’s mother had not been able to face seeing her daughter in the dock, and explained that when he was alive, her father Patrick could be ’emotionally cruel’.
Mr Mayo, who had a number of health ailments and was receiving at home dialysis upstairs in the house when his daughter gave birth, died 10 days after Stanley was born.
Mayo asked her brother George to take the bag containing Stanley’s body outside – he had no idea what was inside
Mr Richmond added: ‘Paris’s dad died the day before her first interview. It has been said she killed him too, and that adds to the burden upon her. ‘This will, in every sense of the word, be a life sentence. It will be a lonely, isolating and frightening time for her.’
For the prosecution, Jonas Hankin KC argued that the killing of baby Stanley was premeditated. He said: ‘Paris Mayo clearly intended to prevent the discovery of the pregnancy or the existence of the baby.
‘A decision was made to eschew help from her mother, father, or the emergency services and kill her baby.’ Jailing her for a minimum of 12 years, Mr Justice Garnham said it was a ‘sad and terrible’ case.
He said: ‘You did nothing to prepare yourself for giving birth. You were frightened and traumatised by this event. ‘I have no doubt it was painful and overwhelming for you. It seems you did not cry out, so anxious were you not to disturb your parents upstairs.
‘As soon as Stanley was born, you decided he could not live and you assaulted him about the head. ‘How you did this is not clear, but I suspect you crushed his head, probably beneath your foot. It certainly caused him serious damage, but that assault did not kill Stanley.
‘He remained alive. You decided you had to finish Stanley off by stuffing cotton wool balls into his throat.
‘As difficult as your circumstances may have been, killing your baby son was a truly dreadful thing to do.’
Mayo, who cried as she was led back to the cells, will serve at least 12 years before she can be considered for parole.
Throughout her trial, Mayo had told the court that she was unaware that she was pregnant.
Earlier Worcester Crown Court heard Stanley had been conceived in the summer of 2018 and by the autumn Mayo was suffering from sickness and back and abdominal pain.
Bernard Richmond KC, defending, asked whether at any time before Stanley was born she knew she was pregnant.
‘No, I was always scared of the thought I might be. I had never taken a test,’ Mayo told the jury.
‘I was more suspicious I could have been, rather than actually knowing if I was or not.
‘I would just try and make excuses to myself to what I thought was wrong. I was worried I might be as I was putting on weight, but I was trying to put it down to other things.
‘I was eating bigger portions of food and eating throughout the day.’
Mr Richmond asked: ‘Was there a stage before the birth you said to yourself, ‘I am pregnant’?’ to which Ms Mayo replied: ‘No.’
Describing her on-and-off sickness in the autumn of 2018, Mayo told the court: ‘I think there were times when I was sick, but it would go back and come away – it was irregular.
‘I thought it was a stomach bug that went away, or I had eaten something that disagreed with me.’
When Mr Richmond asked: ‘Did you ever equate that with being pregnant?’, Mayo replied: ‘No.’
Mayo inflicted complex skull fractures on baby Stanley at her parents’ home in Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire
The CPS said Mayo’s family, pictured here is her mother Coralie Brown, would have cared for Stanley
Jurors were told the accused had been taken to see her GP in October 2018 by her mother and during the examination was asked if she was having sex.
Ms Mayo told the court: ‘She asked me at that time if I was having sex and at that time I told her no because at that time I wasn’t,’ she said.
‘I think I must have misunderstood how she was asking it. I felt like I could have told her if I felt comfortable enough, but I didn’t know how to go about it.’
Mr Richmond asked if her mother knew she had been having sex and she replied: ‘I think she knew I had but she thought I had stopped having sex with people.
‘I think she knew before that I had lost my virginity but believed I had stopped having sex with people.’
The jurors were told Stanley would have been conceived when Mayo was 14 with the teenager losing her virginity at 13.
Explaining why she started having sex so young, she said: ‘I just thought it was a way to get people to like me because I was quite insecure about the way I looked and the way I was made to feel about myself at home because my family situation was quite bad.
‘I was always being patronised and belittled and told I was worthless. I just wanted to feel a bit more validated and the way I felt to get that was to have sex with people.’
Mayo told the jury she only acknowledged to herself being pregnant shortly before she gave birth.
‘He wasn’t crying or making any noise and his eyes weren’t open,’ she said.
‘I started to panic because he wasn’t crying or making a noise and I got really scared. It all happened so fast, I don’t really remember a lot about it.
‘I just remember he hit his head and that was really it. The cord was around his throat when I undone it and that was when it was broken.’
Mr Richmond asked: ‘Stanley had skull fractures. Did you do them to him deliberately?’
Ms Mayo replied: ‘No.’
Mayo (pictured) will have to serve 12-years of her life sentence before she is considered for release
Asked about putting cotton wool balls in Stanley’s mouth, she replied: ‘To me it looked like there was stuff coming out of his mouth. When I was questioned I said two because that’s all I remember doing.’
Asked how she felt about it all, Ms Mayo said: ‘It makes me feel really horrible because I knew I didn’t want to hurt him.
‘I do feel stupid that I didn’t go and tell anyone and get help. I loved him. I always think about what he would be like and how he would have been.’
However after being cross-examined for weeks, Mayo’s claims were proved to be false and it was proven she had deliberately hidden her pregnancy.
The Crown Prosecution Service said Stanley’s ‘short life was filled with pain and suffering when he should have been nurtured and loved’.
In a statement, a spokesman added: ‘The prosecution built a case based on medical evidence which proved that Paris Mayo’s actions were deliberate, she chose to hide her pregnancy, give birth alone and kill her baby, then hide his body despite accepting that she had a family who would have supported her.
‘I would like to thank the jury for their careful consideration of this difficult case.’
Speaking outside Worcester Crown Court last week, senior investigating officer for the case, Detective Inspector Julie Taylor, said: ‘Paris Mayo, who was 15 years old at the time, claimed Stanley was born cold, did not make any noise and hit his head on the floor when he was born.
‘She did not alert anyone to the birth of Stanley, or the fact he had died. She claimed she did not know she was pregnant at the time.
‘Today, following a six-week trial at Worcester Crown Court a jury found Mayo was in fact responsible for his death; and attempted to conceal her pregnancy from those who could’ve, and would’ve, supported her.
‘The death of a new-born baby is utterly heart-breaking, even more so when the person who is responsible is the baby’s own mother.
‘This has been a devastating case for the investigative team to deal with and I would like to thank those involved for their outstanding efforts to ensure justice has been done today.’