Danielle wanted to tell her shocking story after she was the victim of malicious rumours in her local town. Photo-features helped Danielle publish her real life story in a top selling national woman’s magazine which put a stop to the local gossips and finally put the record straight. Read Danielle’s full story below:
Grieving mum’s garden turned into crime scene over memorial rose bush
Mum to be Danielle was devastated when she lost her baby at 17 weeks.
Giving birth alone at home, she didn’t think things could get any worse, until the police arrived and turned her home into a crime scene…
Suddenly Danielle had gone from being the victim of an awful tragedy to being accused of an awful crime …
I looked at my three-year-old daughter Ellie Jane playing with her baby doll and turned to my boyfriend John.
‘I can’t believe she’s going to have a real baby brother or sister to play with soon, can you?’ I said.
We’d always wanted another child but after six miscarriages in the last two years we’d almost given up hope. That is, until I fell pregnant again four months ago.
And this time, fingers crossed, everything seemed to be going well.
Only, at my routine check-up at Harrogate Hospital the following week, the midwife frowned.
‘What’s wrong?’ I asked.
‘I can’t find the baby’s heartbeat,’ she said.
She led me through to see the consultant. But even as he rubbed the jelly onto my tummy, I knew.
‘I’m so sorry he said,’ staring at the screen.
‘Please, no!’ I wanted to scream. ‘Not again.’
But it was true. My baby – it was too early to tell the sex – had died in my womb two weeks earlier.
I was devastated. Especially when I was told that because I was so far gone, I’d have to give birth to my baby. I was given a pill to prepare me for labour and told to return in 48 hours to be induced.
But back home that evening, I started to get stomach pains.
‘She said I shouldn’t feel any pain,’ I told John.
The following morning I called the hospital. But they told me not to worry and out the pains down to the upset of losing my baby. It made sense.
The next I still felt unwell. So while John went to pick his sister Lucy up from work, and Ellie Jane was in nursery, I stayed home in bed.
Suddenly, I got an overwhelming urge to push…
And before I knew I’d delivered my baby onto the bed.
Panicking, I gulped for air. I looked frantically around the room, not knowing what to do.
With my baby still attached to the cord, I was too scared to move to try and phone for help so I simply lay sobbing, cradling my baby and waiting for help to help for arrive.
I don’t know how much time passed until –
‘Hello?’ Lucy called as she opened the front door.
I was too scared to call out. Suddenly, she popped her head around the bedroom door.
‘Oh my God!’ she cried, rushing over to me.
‘Don’t worry,’ she soothed, smoothing my hair as she called for an ambulance.
Then she rang John, he’d gone to do an errand in the car.
The ambulance arrived, and I was wheeled inside, still attached to the umbilical cord and cradling my baby in my arms.
At Harrogate Hospital, the cord was cut and my baby was taken from my arms.
‘Please, I just want to hold my baby,’ I wept, tears running down my face.’
But they needed to carry out tests to confirm why it had died.
‘Well?’ I asked.
They came back inconclusive. There were no answers.
‘Why does this keep happening to us?’ I cried.
Back home the next day, John had an idea. We should plant a rose bush in memory of our baby.
‘It’s a lovely idea,’ I agreed.
The next day our families gathered in the garden and watched as John dug a hole and carefully lowered the bush into it.
I hoped it would bring me some peace. But over the next few days I felt more and more uneasy. Why did I feel everyone was talking about me?
‘I’m sure I can see people looking at me and pointing,’ I said to John.
‘You’re probably just feeling a bit sensitive,’ he said. ‘You’ve been through a lot.’
But that night a friend called. Turns out someone had started a rumour that I’d buried her baby in our back garden.
What? I was distraught. How could they think such a thing? My baby’s body was still in the hospital.
‘Ignore them, they’re sick,’ John soothed.
Only the rumours persisted. I started to avoid leaving the house, frightened of what people might say.
‘You can’t let them get to you,’ John said. ‘You’ve done nothing wrong.’
He was right. So five days after our baby had been born, I held my head high and took Ellie to feed the ducks. And seeing her shrieking with delight as she tossed crusts into the pond, I smiled for the first time in days.
But minutes later, my mobile rang. It was my neighbour. The police were looking for me.
‘Me?’ I wailed. ‘But what for?’
I hurried home and was stunned to see my back garden taped off like something out of CSI. What the heck was going on? Seeing my neighbours’ curtains twitching, I hurried inside
‘We’re here to investigate a complaint,’ one of the officers said.
‘About what?’ I snapped.
Investigations seemed to be centered on the freshly dug earth surrounding their rose bush. There was talk of getting spades…
I broke down. How could people be so cruel? As if giving birth to a dead child at home on my own hadn’t been bad enough, now I was being accused of a crime.
‘It’s in memory of our baby, please don’t dig it up,’ I begged them. ‘Call the hospital. They’ll tell you I’m innocent.
Reluctantly, they agreed. Of course, my consultant confirmed the baby’s body was there.
‘It appears there’s been some mistake,’ the officer apologised.
They removed the crime scene tape from the garden and drove off. But the damage had already been done. I felt like a criminal.
My baby was cremated at the hospital a few weeks later. It’s still early days but I hope in time I’ll be able to move on from this nightmare. I should have been left to grieve in my own way, not forced to justify my actions. I still can’t believe some people have nothing better to do with their time then terrorize a grieving mother.