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Wednesday, 31 May, 2000, 18:52 GMT 19:52 UK
Custody claim for 'toilet' baby
Graeme Clifton and Mark and Lee Angell
Graeme Clifton in court with his girlfriend's parents
A Briton whose girlfriend is accused of abandoning their newborn baby in a toilet at a US airport is expected to attend a custody hearing for the child on Thursday.

Student Graeme Clifton, 21, from Norwich, has gone to Boston after girlfriend Kelly Angell, 20, was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon and abandoning a child.

Ms Angell was about to board a jet on Friday to visit Mr Clifton in the UK when she gave birth to the 8.5lb boy, prosecutors say.

Graeme Clifton
Graeme Clifton is in the US to support his girlfriend
She severed her baby's umbilical cord with her bare hands before abandoning him in the Logan International Airport toilet, said Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney David Deakin.

He said she placed the newborn infant in a toilet bowl, covered him with toilet paper and went back to the terminal waiting area.

Mr Clifton is expected to attend a custody hearing for the child on Thursday at Boston Juvenile Court.

The court will decide if the unnamed baby boy can be handed over to him and Ms Angell's parents, Mark and Lee, or if he will stay in the social services department's custody.

A criminal court was told this week that Mr Clifton was the baby's father.

He met Ms Angell, a student at the Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston,while working at an amusement park called Funtown USA last year.

Baby was found by cleaner

Mr Deakin, prosecuting, said a cleaning woman discovered the baby. He was scooped from the toilet bowl by two doctors waiting to board a flight, he said.

Security officers searched for the mother in the terminal, and discovered Ms Angell carrying her boarding pass and standing fourth in line to board the jet, he added.

When police spoke to her, Ms Angell denied having had a baby and insisted she could not miss her flight.

Kelly Angel
Kelly Angell's mental competence for trial is to be assessed
She later told police officers she thought her baby was stillborn, the prosecutor said.

The baby is being treated for pneumonia but was in a stable condition at Boston Medical Centre, said Carol Yelverton, a spokeswoman for the Department of Social Services.

A judge has ordered Ms Angell to undergo a 20-day psychiatric evaluation to determine whether she is mentally competent to stand trial.

The dangerous weapon in the assault and battery charge refers to the entire scenario, including the toilet and the toilet paper, said James Borghesani, a spokesman for the Suffolk County district attorney's office.

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