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

Ellis Creek restoration comes with $30 million price tag for Penticton

Residents are able to provide feedback on the restoration plan until Nov. 1

City of Penticton weighs need for a manager of social development

Members of council are divided on whether the position is necessary

South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation close to attaining $20M fundraising goal

The medical foundation is $75,000 short of its goal to expand the Penticton Regional Hospital

Souperbowl Sunday is back for fifth year this weekend

Organizers say they are looking for a fourth chef to compete in round 2 on Oct. 27

100 Homes Penticton gets a new name after year of success

The campaign, run by the United Way South Okanagan, housed an additional 130 people in 2019

Election 2019: Tara Howse – Green Party candidate for South Okanagan–West Kootenay

Tara Howse is running for the Green Party in the South Okanagan–West Kootenay riding

A year after pot legalization in Canada, it’s a slow roll

It’s one year into Canada’s experiment in legal marijuana, and hundreds of legal pot shops have opened

ELECTION 2019: Climate strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders

Black Press Media presents a three-part series on three big election issues

ICBC willing to loosen grip on driver claim data, David Eby says

Private insurers say claims record monopoly keeps them out

Sad time for City of Salmon Arm gardeners as more than 300 hanging baskets come down

Municipal crews busy preparing for change of season as flowers die off

B.C. principal suspended for failing to help student who reported inappropriate touching

Principal didn’t remove student from the teacher’s class nor call the parents within a reasonable time

Illegal buoys to be removed from Shuswap, Mara lakes

Transport Canada enforcement action to occur Oct. 21 to 25

Port Moody mayor goes back on unpaid leave during sex assault investigation

Rob Vagramov said he intends to return as mayor in three or four weeks

UBC issues statement after instructor tells students to vote for Liberal Party

University says partisan messaging was not intentional

Most Read