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Accused: A Mother On Trial: BBC Three Announces True Crime On Mother Accused Of Killing Her Baby

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Accused: A Mother On Trial: BBC Three Announces True Crime On Mother Accused Of Killing Her Baby

Warning: distressing content

BBC Three has announced a new four-episode true crime series exploring the case of a mother who was found guilty of causing the death of her newborn baby.

Ashley Ard, who has since married and changed her last name, moved to the small Alaskan town of Eagle River in 2013.

Ashley Ard in Hiland Mountain Correctional Center (Credit: BBC/Scarlet Gray Films)
Ashley Ard in Hiland Mountain Correctional Center (Credit: BBC/Scarlet Gray Films)
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A man walking his dog one morning discovered the body of a newborn baby girl, wrapped in a towel, below a tree in an Eagle River park.

Hours later, Ashley, who was 24-years-old at the time, was admitted to hospital suffering substantial blood loss and complications consistent with giving birth.

Ashley was soon charged with second-degree murder for the death of her newborn daughter and faced up to 99 years in prison.

Byron Brown, Ashley's new husband (Credit: BBC/Scarlet Gray Films)
Byron Brown, Ashley's new husband (Credit: BBC/Scarlet Gray Films)
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Ashley had kept her pregnancy hidden and the baby was not her husband's, Anchorage Daily News reports. She worked as an Army specialist at the time in joint base Elmendorf-Richardson, in Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska.

The public were quick to condemn her, branding her 'The Most Hated Woman In Alaska'.

Despite their calls for her to face the death penalty , there is one person on her side - Rex Lamont-Butler, a veteran lawyer and local celebrity. Rex believed that Ashley was innocent and under his advice, Ashley pleaded not guilty.

Rex Lamont Butler Esq. Ashley's Defense Attorney (Credit: BBC/Scarlet Gray Films)
Rex Lamont Butler Esq. Ashley's Defense Attorney (Credit: BBC/Scarlet Gray Films)
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Alaska's safe haven law allows for parents to give up a baby at a hospital, fire station or police station, no questions asked. Ashley had only just moved to the state in 2013 and was unaware of the law, her defence attorney argued. He also said Brown did not want the child to die.

Accused: A Mother on Trial will follow Ashley's story over five years.

Ashley pleaded guilty to manslaughter. She faced a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of 20 years. She was sentenced to nine years in prison in February 2018.

Accused: A Mother on Trial will become available on BBC iPlayer from Sunday 13 December.

Featured Image Credit: BBC/Scarlet Gray Films

Topics: TV and Film, True Crime, BBC

Gregory Robinson
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