THE parents of a baby who died just days after being born have been sentenced to 15 months in prison for secretly disposing of his body in a graveyard.

Anthony Clark, aged 35, and Catherine Davies, aged 25, had been on trial for the murder of Ian Arthur Davies Junior but the jury found them not guilty after receiving directions from the judge, Mr Justice Julian Goose.

Clark had already pleaded guilty to concealing the birth by secretly disposing of the body and Davies admitted the offence today.

They both received 15-month prison sentences at Manchester Crown Court but have already been in custody for eight months so will be released immediately.

The court heard how the couple were living at Thornbank East, off Deane Road, in Bolton, when baby Ian was born on 21 August, 2016.

He was born in the flat and the couple sought no medical help and did not tell the authorities and just four days later he died.

Mr Justice Goose said the couple agreed to ‘secretly dispose of the body’ and wrapped it in a blanket and placed it in a shoebox, which was wrapped in tape.

They buried the shoebox at Heaton Cemetery, away from the adult graves but near to where other children were buried.

Clark told no one about the birth or death, but Davies told her mother, who subsequently informed the police.

Mr Justice Goose said the idea was ‘principally’ Clark’s, but Davies went along with it and even when interviewed by police away from her partner, continued to deny the birth.

Nicholas Clarke QC, representing Davies, said she had been a victim of domestic abuse in her teenage years and she was ‘effectively’ an alcoholic between the ages of 12 and 14.

She then got to know Clark’s sister and went to live at the home of his mother, Sarah Clark.

Clark and Davies then began a relationship and his mother told the trial how she saw his ‘controlling’ behaviour towards his partner.

She then facilitated the pair’s separation, but they eventually got back together and moved into the Bolton flat where they became increasingly isolated.

Family members would go to see them at the flat and would see curtains drawn, lights on and movement, but no one would answer the door.

Mr Clarke said Davies had ‘come under the control’ of Clark.

Examination of a phone showed Davies was having no contact with the outside world prior to the call to her mother where she told her about the birth.

Davies and Clark have now split up and she wishes to no longer have contact with him.

Mr Clarke said: “She is clearly someone who is disadvantaged in life and will find it difficult to move forward.

“She wishes to make a fresh start as soon as she can, hopefully somewhere close to her mother.”

Peter Weatherby QC, defending Clark, said he does not accept he was abusive within the relationship.

He added his client no longer wishes to have contact with Davies as well.