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Pair charged with illegally aborting baby in Gloucestershire

A man and a woman have been charged with illegally aborting a baby and concealing the birth of a child. Elliot Benham from Wingfield, Swindon and Sophie Harvey, from St Mary’s Road, Cirencester, were also charged with illegally disposing of a baby’s body.

Locations in Swindon and Cirencester were searched in September 2020 as part of the investigation. Gloucestershire Police said the offences allegedly took place between 1 September 2018 and 1 December 2018. The pair, who are both aged 23, were charged with:

Procuring a poison/ noxious thing to cause a miscarriage, contrary to Section 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861
Concealment of the birth of a child, contrary to Section 60 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861
Committing an act with intent to pervert the course of public justice contrary to common law, namely disposing of the body of a baby
Officers said Ms Harvey was separately charged with procuring her own miscarriage by poison/use of instrument, contrary to Section 58 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.

In England abortions are legal up to 24 weeks’ gestation if carried out by a registered medical practitioner, and can be carried out after 24 weeks only in very limited circumstances.

The Offences Against the Person Act 1861 states it is a criminal offence to try to cause your own abortion.

A police spokesperson said it was “alleged in this case that the pregnancy was past 24 weeks and was not carried out by a registered medical practitioner”.

The man and the woman have been released on bail and are due to appear at Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

Source: eNCA

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