Married mother who aborted her baby two days before it was due following workplace affair has eight-year sentence reduced
- Sarah Catt, 36, of North Yorkshire, aborted unborn baby 'in final stages'
- She admitted administering poison with intent to procure a miscarriage
- Today sentence was slashed to three-and-a-half years at Court of Appeal
- Lady Justice Rafferty says eight year sentence was 'manifestly excessive'
- Catt's husband hopes she and their two young children will be family still
Sarah Catt, 36, of North Yorkshire, who aborted her baby within days of his due date, has had her jail term cut from eight years to three-and-a-half
A woman who was jailed for eight years after aborting her unborn baby within a week of his due date had her sentence reduced to three-and-a-half years today.
Married Sarah Catt, 36, who had been having an affair with a work colleague, had successfully concealed the pregnancy from her husband and took drugs she had bought on the internet to end her pregnancy.
Catt, from Sherburn-in-Elmet, North Yorkshire, claimed the baby was stillborn and buried his body, but has not revealed its whereabouts.
The alarm was raised because there was a record of Catt’s pregnancy from an abortion clinic’s scan she had after passing the 24-week legal limit for terminations.
Today her sentence was cut down at London's Court of Appeal as Catt sobbed in the dock.
Lady Justice Rafferty, heading a panel of three judges, said it was a difficult sentencing exercise but the jail term was manifestly excessive.
She said that Catt's complicated obstetric history, which involved adoption, seeking termination and concealment of pregnancy, threw up a 'potential for disturbance, personal misery and long lasting difficulty'.
Catt, who was described at her trial as 'cold and calculating', had no relevant previous convictions and a psychiatric report excluded mental disorder.
Lady Justice Rafferty referred to a letter of 'remarkable restraint, dignity and loyalty' from Catt's husband, which spoke of his hope that the couple and their two young children could stay together as a family.
She said the facts of the case were 'mercifully, highly unusual'.
Catt, who had been having an affair with her colleague for seven years when she aborted her baby, was sentenced at Leeds Crown Court last September.
Mr Justice Cooke said the seriousness of the crime lay between manslaughter and murder after Catt pleaded guilty to administering a poison with intent to procure a miscarriage.
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'Robbed the baby of life': Catt, pictured in a police mugshot (left) and during her trial last year (right), concealed her pregnancy from her husband after having an affair with a work colleague
He told Catt she had robbed an apparently healthy child, ‘vulnerable and defenceless, of the life which he was about to commence’.
He added: ‘This was a cold, calculated decision that you took for your self-interest alone.’
The baby was stillborn in May 2010, two months after Catt had visited an abortion clinic in Leeds. Staff at the British Pregnancy Advisory Clinic told her she was 26 weeks pregnant, and a second scan using more advanced equipment at the city's St James' Hospital put the pregnancy at 29 weeks.
Immediately after the scan she did an internet search, asking: ‘Where can I get an illegal abortion?’, and in April 2010 Catt ordered an abortion drug over the internet from a company in Mumbai, India.
It was delivered the following month and Catt took it and is believed to have given birth while her husband was out the next day.
Catt, whose husband stood by her through her trial, claimed the boy was stillborn and she buried him and cleaned up the bathroom at home without her husband finding out.
However, police inquiries later revealed the baby was aborted just two days before her due date – and the following day she went on a family holiday to France as if nothing had happened.
She lied to detectives about having a legal abortion at a clinic, but officers have never found the baby’s remains or evidence to show he wasn’t born alive. Catt has refused to say where her son’s remains could be found.
Sentencing: Catt was jailed for eight years by a judge sitting at Leeds Crown Court
During her trial last year, Leeds Crown Court heard Catt had an extraordinary history of secret pregnancies and deception.
In 1999, when she was a second year university student, she hid her first pregnancy from her parents and gave the baby up for adoption
She then began the relationship with Stephen Catt, and later had an abortion with his agreement at ‘around the legal limit’ of 24 weeks.
'This was a cold, calculated decision that you took for your self-interest alone.'
- Original sentencing judge Mr Justice Cooke
She went on to have a daugther but only after seeking to have a termination when she was ‘too far advanced’.
Astonishingly, she also kept a further pregnancy a secret from Mr Catt until the birth.
Catt was also conducting a long-term affair with a married colleague at the law firm in York where she worked as an office manager.
Prosecutor Simon Waley said police discovered the seven-year affair when examining Catt’s computer and took a statement from the lover.
In October 2009 Catt told her lover she was pregnant. He offered to leave his wife to start a family with her, but she ended the relationship and in January told him there was no child and it was none of his business.
The couple resumed their ‘occasional sexual relationship’ in June 2010 – soon after she had the home abortion at almost full term.
During more than nine hours of interviews with police Catt insisted she paid £1,700 cash for an abortion at the Marie Stopes clinic in Manchester three days before the legal cut-off date.
Detectives, however, discovered a trail of evidence to show she was concealing a crime.
VIDEO: Police outside court: 'Unusual and disturbing case"...
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