A YOUNG woman has been cleared of murdering her new-born son after the prosecution received comprehensive new medical evidence.

Shauna Donnelly was due to go on trial next month after a lengthy police investigation following the death of Ellis in October 2019.

The 25-year-old had attended James Cook University Hospital carrying her new-born baby. It is believed the baby was born the day before at Donnelly’s Middlesbrough home.

This morning, Miss Donnelly pleaded not guilty to murder at Teesside Crown Court and Judge Stephen Ashurst entered a formal not guilty verdict when the prosecution offered no evidence.

The defendant has always maintained that she had suffered a stillbirth and had done nothing wrong.

Richard Wright QC, prosecuting, said medical advice from a range of experts meant the Crown Prosecution Service had made the decision to withdraw the evidence.

He said: “There is in the case a broad body of circumstantial evidence which raises the index of suspicion as to the circumstances in which this child died. However, it remains of course essential that the prosecution is able to establish that the child died as a result of an unlawful act by the defendant that caused the death of the child.

“An absence of the ability to prove an unlawful act that caused the death of the child, no conviction for murder, manslaughter or indeed any other offence of causing or allowing the death of a child could be founded.”

The prosecution commissioned reports from a number of experts before holding a consultation with all of them to review the case and agree a consensus of medical opinion.

They agreed that the birth was caused by a placental abruption which was evident in the case, which meant if the child was born alive he would have been very poorly and the mother could have believed the child had been stillborn.

He added: “There being no evidence of assault or trauma, in those circumstance the Crown considers it cannot establish to the criminal standard causation and the Crown has reviewed the case and will offer no evidence of murder and invite the court to record a not guilty verdict.”

Allison Hunter QC, representing Miss Donnelly, thanked the prosecution for offering no evidence in light of the latest medical reports after the defence team has also collected similar medical evidence.

Judge Stephen Ashurst told the defendant was free to leave court after he recorded the not guilty verdict.

He said: “In this case I’m quite satisfied that very careful consideration has been given by both prosecution and defence teams to establish how it was the baby in this case died and there has been a very full investigation about the circumstances of the child’s birth.”