A COUPLE are standing trial for the murder of a baby who died before being buried in a shoe box in a shallow grave.

Parents, Anthony Clark, aged 35, and Catherine Davies, aged 25, are accused of allowing the baby to be dehydrated and starved to death.

The couple were living together in Thornbank East, off Deane Road, Bolton, when she gave birth to a baby boy on around August 23, 2016, a jury heard.

He is believed to have died around four days after his birth and the couple then placed the baby's naked body in a shoebox, which was then wrapped in Sellotape, the jury at Manchester Crown Court was told this morning.

It's alleged they took the body to Heaton Cemetery under the cover of darkness, and dug a shallow hole where they buried the body.

The relevant authorities were never informed of the baby’s existence or death.

Clark and Davies both deny murder while Clark has pleaded guilty to concealing a birth. Davies denies concealing a birth.

While a post-mortem examination could not establish a cause of death, Simon Mitchell, consultant neonatologist at St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester, found that in his opinion from all the information available, it is ‘entirely plausible’ the baby would have lived for three to four days without any or any adequate milk and liquid.

He found that dehydration or starvation was entirely consistent with the facts as a cause of death.

Louise Blackwell QC, opening the case to the jury, said the baby was 'denied access to adequate food and liquid'.

The court heard how during the baby’s short life, the defendants left their address with him only once, on August 24.

Miss Blackwell said that this was so that Clark could sign on at the Job Centre to obtain benefits and CCTV shows the baby being handed over to Davies by him.

She remained outside the centre with the baby before he came out again and they walked to Morrisons supermarket where they purchased food and provisions for themselves, but no baby products or food for the baby.

Police only became aware of the situation when Davies rang her mother, Marjorie Davies, asking for money in September last year.

She then spoke to her care worker, Jean Todd, and the police were contacted.

The jury was told how a diary belonging to Catherine Davies was found in the flat and in it she stated ‘pregnancy is pissing me right off’.

She also said in entries that she ‘don’t want hospital’, ‘don’t want head full on’ that it was ‘easier to dispose of’ and that ‘it was less complicated and less people involved’.

There were also entries on August 23 stating that she had given birth to a baby boy ‘three months early’, however experts found the baby was born at almost full term.

On August 27 she made an entry stating the baby had ‘died in sleep’.

When first interviewed by police, Davies denied that a baby had ever been born and blamed her mother’s mental health for making up lies.

On October 3 last year the two defendants were taken separately to the cemetery and while they could find the general area where the box had been buried, they could not find the exact location and it took specialist teams and cadaver dogs to do so.

Clark admitted in interview that the baby was born alive and said that he died in his sleep.

Davies eventually admitted in interview that the baby was born and said he was waking up ‘every an hour to half an hour’ and that there were ‘weird birth defects with the baby’.

She added they had no money to feed or clothe him.

The trial continues.