Unsolved Murders

Child

Age: 10 weeks

Sex: male

Date: 9 Apr 1907

Place: Gatcombe, Blakeney, Gloucestershire

Source: discovery.nationalarchives.co.uk

A child was found in a well. The mother was tried for murder but acquitted.

She said that while she was attending to her household duties the child was stolen and put into the well by someone unknown.

A fisherman and his wife were having tea at about 6.30pm when the mother came to their window and then went in.

She asked the fishermans wife 'Have you got my baby'? The fishermans wife replied 'Certainly not. whatever is the matter?'. The mother then said 'Somebody has taken it'. she then said 'I thought you might have taken it in a joke' and the fishermans wife said 'It is no joking matter'. When then said 'It was taken off the sofa and the bottle was left whilst I was upstairs packing.'

They then all went back to her house to search for her baby. They searched a number of places including a closet and a deep ditch at the back of the house and then at about 8.30pm they went to the well where they met the mother and another woman coming from the well with a light. He said the mother said 'There isnt anything in the well is there? If there was anything white we should have seen it.' He then got a pole and another man got a drag and they pulled the baby out.

When the baby was pulled out of the well the mother swooned away and was in an unconscious state for some hours.

A woman who had gone to see the mother at about 9pm on 8 April 1907 said that she saw her sitting on the sofa looking very ill.

She said that she remained with her until the police arrived and whilst waiting said 'How did it happen?' and the mother had replied 'I dont know. I was upstairs and I thought I heard baby cry. I came down to give him a bottle when I found the baby was gone I made a search for it'. She also said that the mother had told her that she thought another lady had taken the baby.

When the police arrived they found the baby on the kitchen table all wet and the mother unconscious on the sofa. The police waited with her until she awoke at about 1pm and said that she asked her sister-in-law where her husband was and was told that he was at work and then the mother said 'He kissed the baby this morning but he did not kiss me'.

When the doctor examined the baby he said that it had been dead for about 4 hours and that there were no marks of external violence.


*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.


see Aberdeen Journal - Saturday 20 April 1907

see Leeds Mercury - Saturday 20 April 1907

see Dundee Evening Telegraph - Thursday 20 June 1907

see Dundee Evening Telegraph - Thursday 20 June 1907

see Western Daily Press - Saturday 20 April 1907

see National Archives - ASSI 6/42/3