A woman has detailed her ordeal in the hands of her mum who not only slept with her boyfriend but also hid four of her dead baby siblings in a wardrobe.
According to Joanne Lee, her mother, Bernadette Quirk had always lived an incoherent life. She had always battled addiction (mainly to alcohol).
When she was growing up with her mum, she reported that the house was always a mess. But when she eventually left home, the place totally went to ruin.
The house was filled with dog feces, maggots and pile of rubbish.
According to Joanne “the bathroom was out of use because there were bin bags from floor to ceiling- my brother nappies have been in there for years, and they were trodden into carpet.
“The washing machine was broke and the cloths in there were left for years and years”.
But her recalcitrant attitude towards her personal and household cleanliness was not the shadiest part about her by far.
When Joanne was just 15, she walked in on her mum having sex with her 17-year-old boyfriend who had slept over at their house.
She had always notice that there were several times that her mum would gain weight and have a visible bulge but the she never told her she was pregnant and the bulge always seemed to disappear overnight like they were never there.
It was in 1998 that she first discovered her mother’s dark secret.
Joanne (who was 27 then) and her sister Catherine (who was 16 then) noticed that their mum maybe pregnant. In addition, they had overheard her telling someone that she was ‘expecting a bad’ during a party.
It was when visiting Bernadette that Catherine noticed a putrid smell was coming from their mum’s room and decide to get to the bottom of it when her mother went to the shops.
When she opened a wardrobe in the room, the stench was almost over powering and seemed to be coming from a red plastic bin.
According to Joanne, “what struck her most were insects around it. She took the top off and found it full of air fresheners and bin bags. Reaching inside she touched what she felt sure was baby’s head”.
“Hysterically, she ran from the house and rang me at once, saying, “Oh God, I’ve found it. I felt the head.””
When they confronted their mother on what they had found, she admitted that she had given birth two weeks ago. However, she insisted that the baby was still born and she did not kill the baby.
Bernadette refused to see a doctor and made them promise not to tell anyone. However, the convinced her to bury the baby in a dignified way instead of leaving it to rot in a bin.
After the incident, the girls who taught their mum had learned her lesson would receive the shock of their life when their mum upped the ante.
In 2009, Bernadette took and overdose and had to be hospitalized. When Joanne went to her house to pick up some cloths for her, she saw the same familiar but haunting red plastic bin in her mother’s wardrobe.
When she opened the bin, she saw exactly the same thing her sister had seen 11 years ago- bin bags and a pile of air fresheners.
When the police were called, they conducted a search and found 3 dead babies in the entire room.
Joanne who has now written a book that details her ordeal said, “I’d always wanted to write a book because my life had been a jigsaw puzzle which I wanted to piece together.
“But I will never know the whole truth. I will never know how she hid those babies all those years.
“Where were they in between her moving houses? How do you hide the smell of a dead body? The smell is indescribable. It clings to you and you can taste it.”
Even though a lot of people would consider Bernadette’s crime to be heinous, she was not sentenced to jail. This is most likely because the court was able to determine that the babes were carried to full term and were most likely stillborn. Instead she got a two-year community order. She passed away in February aged 64.