A WOMAN has appeared in court charged with the murder of her baby son.

Cleveland Police launched an investigation last October following the boy's death after Shauna Donnelly took the newborn to hospital.

The 24-year-old appeared at both Teesside Magistrates' and Crown Court yesterday before being released on bail.

A judge heard how Donnelly, of Middlesbrough, was charged by detectives on Wednesday with the murder of Ellis Donnelly on October 3.

Robert Mochrie, representing Donnelly, told the court that his client was an 'extremely vulnerable' woman and applied for her to be released on bail.

He told the court that his client had committed no previous offences and had been seeking help from mental health charity MIND.

The court was told how she attended Middlesbrough police station on Wednesday knowing that she potentially faced a homicide charge of either murder or the related offence of infanticide.

Mr Mochrie said he acknowledged from the outset that 'this is an extremely serious offence' but this is an 'extremely sensitive and delicate' allegation.

He said: "The investigation has not changed shape in anyway since Miss Donnelly was arrested in October. She has been subject to bail since that initial arrest and today, she was further arrested for a second interview and thereafter released under investigation since the beginning of November time."

Mr Mochrie told the court that his client lived with her parents and had done throughout the investigation and pose no threat of committing any further offences.

Judge Paul Watson QC accepted that Donnelly posed 'no substantial risk of re-offending' and the defendant was granted bail on condition she remains at her home address, conforms to a curfew between 4pm and 6am each day, has no contact with witnesses and doesn't take any paid or voluntary work with children.

He said: "The defendant attended at hospital on October 4 last year with a newborn baby, probably born a day or so before.
"Sadly Ellis, the newborn, was found to be deceased on arrival at hospital.”

Donnelly, dressed in a grey tracksuit, spoke only to confirm her name.
No plea was entered and Judge Watson QC adjourned the case until Monday, June 29 for a mention hearing.
A trial date is yet to be set.