Friday, November 8, 2019

Susan MacLeod, Serial Baby-Killing Mom – Scotland, 2001


Scottswoman Susan MacLeod gave birth to three babies between 1996 and 2001. The mother seems to have suffocated each of them soon after birth, according to post mortem examiners. “Soon after they had died, all three of the babies were put in black carrier bags and left to rot in the foot of the wardrobe.” [McKay]

On April 21, 2001 police were called to her Govan (near Glasgow) home when the landlord’s children investigated the source of a bad odor that the neighbors had complained about. Susan “rented a bedroom in a two bedroomed flat and over the years different flatmates complained about the smell coming from her room. Some of them made cursory investigations, but nothing was found at first."

Susan pled guilty on Mar. 21, 2003 to “a reduced plea of culpable homicide was accepted on two charges. A third charge was dropped.”

Susan’s attorney told the court that psychiatric reports suggested her behavior may have been linked to the fact that she was severely sexually abused when she was young.

She was given bail in May 2001 on condition that she stay with her parents in North Bragar on Lewis Island. But in August, when she was 18 weeks pregnant, she violated the bail terms and travelled to Inverness to have an abortion.

One islander said: "They are horrendous allegations and in a tiny place like this, the whole community feels soiled. Most people think it is ridiculous. It is just Susan making excuses. She has always been an attention-seeker and it is typical of her to say something like this without having to back it up."

While on bail on Lewis, and already pregnant again, MacLeod would go out shopping and for coffees in a local cafe.  She attended her brother Steven's wedding with her boyfriend Neil Harper.  Another islander said: "She was up dancing most of the night as if nothing had happened. The locals were nice to her for the sake of her parents. They are a loving, well-respected pair." [Daily Record, 5/3/03]

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CHRONOLOGY
1994 – Susan left home (North Bragar), Lewis at 17 and worked in hotels and bars in Tobermory, Mull, and Glasgow.
1996 – dead baby #1, girl, Govan area, Glasgow. Died between Aug. 1, 1996 and Jan. 1, 1997. Robert Macleod, father.
1998 – dead baby #2, boy, Govan area, Glasgow. Died between Jun. 30, 1998 and Dec. 30, 1999. Robert Macleod, father.
Year undetermined – dead baby #3, Govan area, Glasgow.
Apr. 21, 2001 – Five years after the first birth police were called to her home in April 2001 when another tenant complained of the smell. Govan area of Glasgow
Mar. 21, 2003 – Susan (26) pleaded guilty to two charges of culpable homicide; High Court in Glasgow.
May 2001 – given bail on condition that she lived with her parents in North Bragar on Lewis Island.
Aug. 2001 – leaves Lewis when 18 weeks pregnant to have an abortion at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.
Date? – One of the charges dropped after doctors said one of the children had been still-born.
May 2003 – Judge rules: "I have come to the conclusion that I am not going to send you to prison."
Feb. 27, 2004 – Susan MacLeod (27), wept with relief after Edinburgh judge Lord Bracadale refused to jail her and ordered her to undergo six months more treatment.
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[“Babies' remains found in bin bags,” BBC News, Mar. 21, 2003]
[“Killer mother avoids jail time,” BBC News, Feb. 27, 2004]
[Reg McKay, Murder Capital: Life and Death on the Streets of Glasgow, 2006, Black and White Pub.]
[Annie Brown, “Killer Mum's Secret Abortion; Pregnancy ended during babies case” Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), May 3, 2003]

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For more cases of this type, see Serial Baby-Killer Moms.

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