Woman arrested in Luton pleads guilty of preventing lawful burial of a small child

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A woman who hid the body of a baby boy who was last seen more than a decade ago has pleaded guilty to preventing his lawful burial.

Victoria Gale, 32 of no fixed address, who was tracked down by police in Luton, appeared on bail at Kingston Crown Court on Wednesday, 21 December for a fit for plea hearing where she pleaded guilty to the offence of preventing a lawful burial.

She pleaded not guilty to the offences of perjury and perverting the course of justice and these offences will lie on file.

Gayle was bailed to appear at the same court for sentencing on 3 February 2017.

Detectives from the Homicide and Major Crime Command (HMCC) launched an investigation in late May 2016 into the disappearance of the baby boy at the request of officers from Barnet and the Child Abuse Investigation Team following a case review into the death of another child at an address in Barnet in 2015.

Little was known about the baby boy and his current whereabouts and enquiries established that he was last seen in late 2004.

On Monday, 30 May, detectives attended an address in Fryent Crescent, West Hendon and began an extensive search of the property. Gayle, who was not at the address, was located in Luton and initially arrested on suspicion of murder and bailed.

As the search at Fryent Crescent entered a second day, detectives located the remains of a small child. Gayle was re-arrested in the early hours of Thursday, 2 June on suspicion of preventing a lawful and decent burial and charged.

A special post-mortem examination took place at Great Ormond Street Hospital on Thursday, 2 June, and the cause of death could not be determined. Further tests were unable to establish exactly how the child died and enquiries continue to this day.

The skeletal remains have not been confirmed of that of the child who disappeared in 2004, and although Gayle has pleaded to the offence of preventing a lawful and decent burial detectives continue to investigate the disappearance of the baby boy, the identity of the remains and are working closely with a number of partner agencies.

A 50-year-old woman and a 52-year-old man who were both arrested on suspicion of preventing a lawful and decent burial have been re-bailed pending further enquiries to a date in late December.

A 38-year old man who was arrested on suspicion of preventing a lawful burial and perverting the course justice has also been re-bailed pending further enquiries to a date in late December.