Gloucestershire teen accused of illegal abortion 'panicked' after birth

A six-month pregnant teenager accused of illegally aborting her own baby "panicked" after giving birth naturally, a court heard.

Sophie Harvey, then 19, said the baby was stillborn when she gave birth in the bathroom of her home in Gloucestershire in September 2018. The 25-year-old is now on trial at Gloucester Crown Court alongside her partner Elliot Benham, also 25, accused of taking a drug they purchased to end her pregnancy.

Prosecutors allege she took the tablet after learning she was at 28 weeks and five days gestation - meaning she could not get a legal abortion in England.

Read more:

Jurors were told Harvey was first arrested in November 2018 and interviewed by detectives in the presence of an appropriate adult.

A transcript of the interview was read to the jury in which Harvey said she gave birth in the toilet in "early September" and the baby was blue.

"I was scared, and I just panicked," she told police. "I didn't expect it to happen."

Harvey then explained she wrapped the baby in a towel and placed it into a carrier, which she got from her bedroom, before putting the bag in an outside bin.

She said Benham asked her if she was okay. "He was upset as well but he was more worried about how I was."

The defendants attended the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) on August 30 where they were informed the pregnancy was at 28 weeks and five days gestation.

The court has heard abortions in England are legal up to 24 weeks gestation if carried out by a registered medical practitioner and can be carried out beyond 24 weeks in very limited circumstances, which did not apply in this case.

Harvey told police she was shocked to be told how far along the pregnancy was as she had believed she was around four months pregnant having had her last period in mid-April.

"I left the clinic a bit overwhelmed. I didn't tell anyone because I was a bit scared," she told officers. She also told police she then thought about keeping the baby and said Benham would support her.

Prosecutors allege that after learning Harvey could not have a legal abortion, the defendants ordered a kit of five pills to end the pregnancy.

When police searched her home, they found the packet with the first pill allegedly missing, which they say Harvey had taken.

Harvey, of St Mary's Road, Cirencester, Gloucestershire denies charges of procuring a poison, procuring own miscarriage by poison and attempting to pervert the course of public justice.

Benham, of Wingfield, Swindon, Wiltshire denies a single charge of attempting to pervert the course of public justice and has "acknowledged" his part in procuring the tablets.

Both defendants have pleaded guilty to concealing the birth of a child.

The trial continues.

Want the latest Gloucestershire breaking news and top stories first? Click here to join our WhatsApp group . We also treat our community members to special offers, promotions, and adverts from us and our partners. If you don’t like our community, you can check out any time you like. If you’re curious, you can read our Privacy Notice .