Man and woman charged with illegally aborting baby and concealing the body

A man and a woman have been charged with offences relating to illegally aborting a baby.

Elliot Benham, 23, and Sophie Harvey, 23, have been jointly accused of procuring a poison to cause a miscarriage, concealing the birth of a child, and disposing of the baby’s body.

Harvey, of St Mary’s Road, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, has also been charged with procuring her own miscarriage by poison or use of an instrument.

Gloucestershire Constabulary said locations in Swindon and Cirencester were searched as part of the investigation in September 2020, and the offences were alleged to have taken place between September 1 and December 1, 2018.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) authorised the charges following an investigation by the constabulary’s Major Crime Investigation Team.

Abortions are legal in England 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.

It is alleged that in this case, the pregnancy was past 24 weeks and was not carried out by a medical practitioner.

Causing your own abortion was criminalised under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.

Harvey, and Benham, of Wingfield in Swindon, Wiltshire, have both been released on bail to attend Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.