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Woman jailed for 100 years after cutting stranger’s baby from her womb

A woman who lured a pregnant stranger to her home by advertising maternity clothes has been jailed for 100 years after she cut the baby from her womb.

Dynel Lane, 36, posted her ad on Craigslist in 2015, claiming to be pregnant herself.

But after inviting victim Michelle Wilkins into her home in Colorado, she set upon her with two kitchen knives and slit open her stomach, removing her eight-month-old foetus and placing it in a bathtub.

Judge Maria Berkenkotter described the sickening attack as performing a caesarean with a kitchen knife.
Michelle Wilkins was attacked in 2015 (Picture: AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
Jurors had heard that Lane told elaborate lies feigning her own pregnancy, posting photos online and showing her partner ultrasound photos she downloaded from the internet. Friends even threw her a baby shower.

Lane did not speak in her defence during her trial, which ended in February, but after the case relatives said her own 19-month-old son had drowned in an accident and her grief and remorse could have led to take an action they could not understand or explain.

Lawyers for Lane accepted she attacked Ms Wilkins but argued it was attempted manslaughter rather than a calculated murder attempt.

Lane was repeatedly asked to apologise for her actions in person. The judge told her ‘people are hungry to hear from you, Miss Lane. Hungry, desperate to hear you express genuine remorse from the bottom of your heart.’
Michelle Wilkins hugs Longmont Police Officer Chrystie Wheeler after the sentence (Picture: Matthew Jonas/The Daily Times Call/AP)
The baby’s mother, Ms Wilkins, placed a large photograph of her dead child, who appeared to be sleeping, on an easel next to the witness box, then asked the judge to impose the harshest possible sentence.

Ms Wilkins said after the sentencing that she saw the hearing as a day in court for her daughter, who she named Aurora.

David Ridley, who lived with Lane and her two daughters, said for more than a year Lane claimed she was expecting a boy who they planned to name James. He was beginning to suspect this may not be true at the time of the attack.
Woman jailed for 100 years after cutting stranger's baby from her womb
Dynel Lane lured the other woman to her home (Picture: Matthew Jonas/The Daily Times Call/ AP)
When he came home early from work on the day of the attack to meet Lane for a doctor’s appointment, he said he found the foetus in a bathtub and drove the child and Lane to a hospital, where she begged staff to save her baby.

Mr Ridley didn’t realise Ms Wilkins was left unconscious at their home. She later came to and called police.

Lane was given the maximum penalties for attempted murder and unlawful termination of a pregnancy. She could not be sentenced for murder because there was no evidence the baby lived outside the womb. Read more:
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