Northampton mother of baby mauled to death by pitbull has sentencing adjourned due to pregnancy

Claire Riley appearing at Northampton Crown Court, May 27, 2016.
Claire Riley appearing at Northampton Crown Court, May 27, 2016.

The sentencing of the mother of a baby who was savaged to death by her illegal pitbull has been adjourned for two months due to her pregnancy.

Claire Riley’s six-month-old baby daughter Molly Mae Wotherspoon died following an attack by an American pit bull, called Bruiser, at a house in Morning Star Road, Daventry, on October 3, 2014.

Riley, aged 23, of Merrydale Square, Southfields, had pleaded guilty to owning a banned breed of dog in June and was due to be sentenced at Northampton Crown Court today.

But a GP’s letter presented to the court this morning advised the judge to adjourn sentencing for seven weeks as Riley had recently become pregnant.

Prosecuting James Hope QC, said: “The difficulty we have here is we have a qualified medical person saying there is a risk to the mother and the foetus (if sentencing were to go ahead).”

She was due to be sentenced alongside Molly Mae’s grandmother Susan Aucott, aged 55, of Alfred Street, Northampton, who had previously pleaded guilty to being in control of the pitbull when it killed baby Molly Mae.

But Justice Susan Carr adjourned the sentencing of Riley and Aucott until August 26 as a result of the GP’s letter.

Justice Carr said: “I make it clear that sentencing of both the defendants will go ahead on that date.

“If there is any suggestion Miss Riley will not be fit for the hearing I will expect a full report from their consultant obstetrician 14 days before the hearing.”

Previous hearings of the case had been adjourned due to Riley’s medical state.

The GP’s letter in this instance advised it would be unwise to hold sentencing during the first trimester of Riley’s pregnancy.

But Justice Carr said any sentencing hearing is “inevitably stressful.”

“That stressful period is just being extended by this delay,” she added.

“Clearly there are good facilities in prison for babies to be born and cared for.”