The Tragic End of a Troubled Woman

In a truly heart-wrenching story, Rachel Tunstill, a 32-year-old woman who had previously been convicted of murdering her own newborn baby, was recently found dead in HMP Styal, Cheshire. Tunstill had been serving a life sentence for the horrific act she committed after giving birth alone in her flat in Burnley, Lancashire, in January 2017.

At the time of the incident, Tunstill’s partner was totally unaware of the horrifying events unfolding just a few rooms away. She took a pair of scissors and stabbed her baby girl, Mia Kelly, to death before disposing of her lifeless body in a kitchen bin.

After a trial in June 2017, Tunstill was found guilty of murder and initially sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 20 years. However, her conviction was later overturned, and a new trial was ordered. This followed a judge’s ruling that the jury should have been able to consider a verdict of infanticide.

Tunstill was eventually found guilty of murder again and was sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum term of 17 years before being considered for release.

The news of Tunstill’s death in custody has raised countless questions and prompted an investigation to determine the circumstances surrounding her passing. The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman is taking the lead in this investigation. At this point, the Prison Service has not revealed any details about the cause of Tunstill’s death.

Throughout the trials, it was revealed that Tunstill, a psychology graduate and deputy manager at a residential home for individuals with mental health issues, had been diagnosed with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder. She claimed that she had been unaware of her pregnancy being virtually full-term and mistakenly believed she was experiencing a miscarriage.

During this dark period, Tunstill had conducted internet searches on terminating a late pregnancy. Disturbingly, she also researched information about Mick Philpott, a notorious killer who murdered six of his own children in a house fire.

While in prison, Tunstill reported hearing voices and made references to infamous serial killer Rose West, who, together with her husband, was responsible for the torture and murder of at least nine young women.

In his sentencing remarks, Mr. Justice King described the murder as a sustained and frenzied attack on a vulnerable victim due to her young age. He condemned Tunstill’s actions, emphasizing that as a mother, her duty was to care for and protect her newborn baby, not to harm her in such a brutal manner.

The tragic events surrounding the murder of Mia Kelly leave us with many questions unanswered. While we may never fully understand Tunstill’s mental state and motivations, the loss of an innocent life and the pain inflicted on her family remain deeply troubling.

As the investigation into Rachel Tunstill’s death in prison unfolds, authorities will do whatever is necessary to prevent similar tragedies from happening in the future. This case also underscores the importance of providing appropriate mental health support and intervention for individuals at risk, in order to prevent such devastating outcomes.