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Views : Mom gets six years for leaving baby to die

A Parkwood woman who left her newborn baby to die on her mother's grave will spend the next six years in prison.

After giving birth, Chantal Haynie wrapped her unnamed son in a plastic bag, put him in a leather bag and placed him on her mother's grave on May 17, 2005.

Two days later, after relatives questioned her, she arrived home carrying the bag which contained her dead baby's body, and showed it to her family.

She was arrested later that day.

On Friday magistrate Karel Meyer found that exceptional and compelling circumstances existed to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence of 15 years.

What counted in Haynie's favour, Meyer said, was that she did not directly harm her son, showed remorse during the trial and was grieving her mother's death at the time of the incident.

Haynie had experienced psychological stress because her mother suffered from terminal cancer, a psychiatric report by Dr Ashraf Jedaar said. The report added that Haynie had to take care of her mother and had difficulty accepting and processing her death.

Haynie's lawyer, Keith Le Grange, had asked the court to impose a sentence of correctional supervision as the probation and correctional officers' reports suggested.

But Meyer leaned towards prosecutor Bantu Nyembezi's request for direct imprisonment.

"A reasonable person could think that a baby who needs to be fed, and who can't look after himself, won't survive the cold night," Meyer said.

"You left your baby there knowing that people were looking for the baby.

"You gave different versions to your family saying the baby was in a bush, and later got police involved saying an unknown black woman abducted your child."

Although Meyer did not find that Haynie had planned her son's death, a "degree of purpose-driven behaviour" was involved in the crime.

Haynie had not bought any baby clothes, had tried to conceal her pregnancy, and remarked: "Oh God, a snake has come out of me" when she gave birth in a toilet.

Meyer said Haynie knew very well that she had given birth to a child, because this was not her first pregnancy.

Haynie's 12-year-old son will be taken care of by her sister while she serves her sentence.

Meyer told Haynie she could have given her baby up for adoption if she did not want him.

Source: IOL

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Tags: crime   Baby   Parkwood  

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