A mother who hid the body of her son, last seen more than 10 years ago, has been sentenced to 21 months in prison for preventing his lawful burial.
Victoria Gayle, 32, appeared on bail at Kingston Crown Court today (Mar 17), where she was sentenced.
She had previously appeared at the same court on December 21 last year to enter a guilty plea, but pleaded not guilty to the offences of perjury and perverting the course of justice.
Detectives from the Homicide and Major Crime Command (HMCC) launched an investigation in May 2016 into the disappearance of Victoria's son, Kyzer Gayle.
Concerns about Kyzer's whereabouts escalated during a case review looking into the death of Victoria’s daughter Ava at an address in Barnet in 2015, which the coroner ruled as accidental.
Little was known about Kyzer and enquiries established he was last seen in 2004 before detectives found the remains of a child on May 31 last year.
Detective Chief Inspector Noel McHugh, who led the investigation, said: “This has been a very complex and at times very distressing investigation for all concerned.
“Kyzer Gayle was not seen for over a decade and Victoria Gayle admitted preventing lawful burial when faced with compelling evidence.
“It has now been concluded the skeletal remains are those of Kyzer.
“While Victoria Gayle has been sentenced today our work by no means stops here.
“It is only right, after this child was denied a dignified burial we continue with our investigation. I remain committed to establishing the circumstances around how Kyzer died.”
Detectives searched an address in Fryent Crescent, West Hendon around 7am on May 30 and arrested a 51-year-old woman in connection with the investigation.
Gayle, who was not present, was located in Luton and initially arrested on suspicion of murder.
Initially, Victoria claimed Kyzer’s father was a traveller she met through a friend and, when Kyzer was around ten months old, it was decided this man should retain full custody.
She told police this was the last time she saw her son and she had no further contact with the man.
The police investigation established she had told friends and family who asked about Kyzer’s whereabouts he was now living with his father but at no point did she say who he was.
The remains of a child were found in a cardboard box in a shed in the back garden on the second day of the search – estimated to be 14 months old at time of death.
The child, later found to be Kyzer, was seated in a cut down push chair.
A post-mortem examination took place at Great Ormond Street Hospital on 2 June 2016, and the cause of death could not be determined. Further tests were unable to establish exactly how the child died and enquiries continue.
In light of the ongoing enquiries, detectives have taken the unusual step of appealing for information and for witnesses to come forward following today's sentencing.
They are keen to trace anyone who might be able to assist them in building a picture as to where Victoria Gayle was living and the relationships she was in, no matter how casual, between 2004 and May 2013.
A 51-year-old woman and a 53-year-old man arrested will have no further action taken against them.
A 38-year old man arrested on September 16 last year on suspicion of preventing a lawful burial and perverting the course justice remains on bail until a date in mid-April pending further enquiries.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact the incident room on 020 8785 8099 or police via 101 and @MetCC.
Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111 or at crimestoppers-uk.org