A woman has been found guilty of murdering her pregnant friend on her wedding day and performing a crude caesarean operation to kidnap the unborn child.
Just hours before Angelikque Sutton, 22, was to be married in November 2015, her childhood friend, Ashleigh Wade, 24, invited her to her house in New York,
where she slashed her throat, stabbed her 20 times, and then cut her baby out of her body.
A court in the Bronx heard Wade had slashed the expectant mother’s voice box so she could not scream for help, and cut major blood vessels so she was unable to move.
When police arrived, Wade told officers she had just given birth to the child and that it was hers. The baby ultimately survived.
Wade had pretended she was pregnant for months ahead of the attack, and had stockpiled nappies and baby clothes. During the trial, the judge was forced to clear the courtroom when one of the jurors fainted after hearing graphic testimony and seeing images of the mutilated woman.
Wade’s attorney, told jurors that her client should be convicted of manslaughter rather than murder and that she suffered from an undiagnosed mental illness.
She subsequently asked them to consider a sentence that would involve mental health treatment.
Following a five-hour deliberation, the jury found Wade guilty of second degree murder, and she now faces life imprisonment.
The victim’s mother Deborah Sutton and other relatives silently wiped tears from their eyes after the verdict came down, the New York Daily News reported.
“Justice prevailed, the truth was revealed and my daughter was avenged,” Ms Sutton said as she hugged her husband.
William Sutton added: “Whatever you write, write something good about my daughter, because she was a beautiful girl, a beautiful girl.”
Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said: “The facts of this case are unfathomable. A child was yanked from the womb moments after her mother was murdered on her wedding day. Two years later, that child is a vibrant little girl, a testament to survival and hope.”
One juror told the New York Daily News: “The case is going to stay with us for awhile. You have a child that has to go through this every year on her birthday. It’s a horrible thing.” (AFP)