Mother who covered up baby son's death for 11 years jailed for 21 months

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A mother who covered up the death of her baby son for 11 years until he was found in a garden shed has been sentenced to 21 months imprisonment.

There was no reaction from Victoria Gayle, 32, as she stood in the dock at Kingston Crown Court.

Gayle, of no fixed address, had previously pleaded guilty to preventing a lawful burial, but pleaded not guilty to perjury and perverting the course of justice. The allegations will lie on file.

Judge Susan Tapping told Gayle: "Your little boy was denied a decent burial.

"A web of lies began in 2014 and went on to every authority that tried to find out what had happened to him.

"The full truth of his sad and short life will never be known."

Despite two post mortems and the long-term deterioration of her son Kyzer's remains, the cause of his death has been given as "unascertained".

Gayle was sentenced to 21 months and will remain on licence for 12 months on release.

Estimates suggest that Kyzer may have been around 13 or 14 months old when he died, and little is known about him since he was last seen in 2004.

His remains, showing he was malnourished, were found in a garden shed on May 31 2016.

This was at the home in west Hendon, north London, of Gayle's mother and step-father, but they knew nothing about the death.

The judge noted that Gayle's only explanation of what had happened to Kyzer was that she had simply "discovered your little son dead in his cot".

The judge said: "Such tragedy does happen and when it does nothing but sympathy should be felt for the mothers and families who have suffered such bereavement.

"Your reaction to such a shocking discovery was to conceal."

Gayle did not call an ambulance or the police or see if anything could be done to help Kyzer.

Instead she kept his body at her two-bedroom home for years, in a cot in the spare room which was so filled with junk that it could not be used.

Gayle moved Kyzer's body, which was out of sight, when she was about to be evicted.

Police launched a missing persons investigation for Kyzer after Gayle's two-year-old daughter died in August 2015. An inquest into her death found she appeared to have swallowed a button battery.

Officers went on to search the north London property, where they found Kyzer's skeletal remains.

Mr Emlyn Jones said: "In the garden shed, officers found a cardboard box wrapped in a black bin liner. Inside the box was a laundry bag containing an object wrapped entirely in grey adhesive tape. The tape was cut; inside was the decomposed remains of a human infant.

"The deceased baby had been fully dressed in corduroy trousers and a jumper. A bandage had been applied to the entire length of one leg."

Mr Emlyn Jones also told the court: "It transpires there were no records of anyone having seen Kyzer since having left hospital on the day of his birth in February 2004." 

When questioned, Gayle, a single mother, could not explain why he was fully clothed or why he was wearing a bandage but she suggested that it may have been to keep ointment in place if he had a rash.

After her arrest, Gayle was asked about internet searches she had carried out into sulphuric acid in May 2016. 

She replied that she had "simply been curious" about what it was after developing a rash from using bleach, Mr Emlyn Jones said.

Gayle has said that Kyzer was born after a one-night stand with an old friend.

She falsely let him believe he was the father after calling him out of the blue with the news and leaving the baby with him for five months.

She later told police Kyzer's father was a member of the travelling community but this was probably a ploy to throw everyone off the trail.

After her arrest in May 2016, Gayle "lied comprehensively" to police and her story "crumbled" a day later when Kyzer's body was found, the judge said.