A mother who hid the body of her baby boy following his death has been jailed for 21 months for preventing his lawful burial.
Victoria Gayle, 32, told family and friends that the boy had been taken away aged ten months by his father who was a traveller and that that was the last she’d seen of him.
But she had hid the body cocooned in duct tape inside a cardboard box in a garden shed at her former home in Fryent Crescent, West Hendon.
Detective Chief Inspector Noel McHugh said the little boy, called Kyzer Gayle, had not been seen for more than a decade but that the skeletal remains were confirmed to be his following forensic tests.
He said: "This has been a very complex and at times very distressing investigation for all concerned.
"We have pushed boundaries forensically, with scientists developing new techniques centred on fingerprints, which allowed us to obtain the strong and overwhelming evidence required.
"Whilst Victoria Gayle has been sentenced today our work by no means stops here. I remain committed to establishing the circumstances around how Kyzer died."
Detectives from the the Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command unit launched an investigation into Kyzer’s disappearance during a case review into the death of Gayle’s daughter Ava at an address in Barnet in 2015, which a coroner ruled was accidental.
It was soon established that little was known about Kyzer, and that he had last been seen in 2004.
A police spokesman said: “Initially, Victoria claimed that Kyzer’s father was a traveller whom she met through a friend and, when Kyzer was around ten months old, it was decided that this man should retain full custody.
“She told police that this was the last time she saw her son and she had no further contact with the man but at no point did she ever state who this man was.”
“As the search at Fryent Crescent entered a second day, specialist police search officers made a significant find in one of several garden sheds.
“Located in the shed was a cardboard box and inside this box officers found a cocoon of duct tape which contained the remains of a child aged around 14 months at the time of his death. The child was seated in a cut down push chair.”
Gayle, who was initially arrested on suspicion of murder at an address in Luton last year, was sentenced today (Friday March 17) at Kingston Crown Court.
A post-mortem examination took place at Great Ormond Street Hospital on June 2 2016, but the cause of death could not be determined.
Further tests were unable to establish exactly how the child died, and detectives are now appealing for information.
Det Chief Insp McHugh added: "We are keen to establish Victoria Gayle’s movements and where she lived, in particular the period between August 2007 and May 2013 and any siblings Kyzer had.
"I am also keen to identify any former partners, and I am directly appealing to anyone who had a relationship with Victoria Gayle or lived with her to come forward. We understand some may be hesitant in approaching us, but I would like to reassure you that at this stage our intention is to piece together what has happened over the years."
Anyone with any information is asked to contact the incident room on 020 8785 8099 or police via 101 and @MetCC.
To give information anonymously contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit crimestoppers-uk.org.
* A 51-year-old woman and a 53-year-old man were arrested but will have no further action taken against them.
A 38-year old man who was on suspicion of preventing a lawful burial and perverting the course justice remains on bail until a date in mid-April pending further enquiries.