Unsolved Murders


Age: 0

Sex: male

Date: 18 Mar 1916

Place: Winterdene, Middlesex Road, Bexhill, Sussex

The body of a baby was found wrapped in newspaper in the garden of a house near the sea front at Bexhill on Wednesday 18 March 1913.

A piece of tape had been tied tightly around its neck and the back of the head was smashed and one side of its body was burnt.

The newspaper that the child was wrapped up in was a copy of 'The Globe' dated 29 September 1913.

It was found by a woman who lived in Station Road who had gone to do some spring cleaning at a place called 'Winterdene' in Middlesex Road. She said that the house was unoccupied at the time and that she was getting it ready for the tenant.

She said that she had gone into the garden at about 1.15pm when she saw a parcel lying near the hedge. She noted that it would not have been possible to have thrown it there from the road as it would have landed on the lawn.

She said that it was a newspaper parcel tied up with strong and that when she opened it that she found a piece of cloth but said that she didn't open it any further and went for the police.

She said that the last time that she had been at the house was on the Saturday and said that the parcel might have been there then without her noticing it.

A policeman that went to the house at 1.25pm said that he saw the parcel lying there between the hedge and the verge of the lawn. He said that the body had been wrapped up in a piece of bed sheeting and that the body was that of a newly-born male child.

He said that the child's body had been burned down the left side and that there was a piece of tape tied tightly round its neck.

He said that he thought that it would have been possible to have dropped the parcel over the hedge from the pavement and noted that the soil was pressed down underneath it.

A doctor that examined the body said that the child had lived but that there had been no skilled attendance at birth. He said that there was a piece of tape tied tightly round the child's neck and that the bones at the back of its head were smashed in and that the whole of the child's left side was charred. He noted that the charring was post mortem.

He gave the child's cause of death as strangulation and said that he thought hat it had died between a week and fortnight earlier.

A verdict of 'Wilful murder'  against some person or persons unknown was returned.

There were a total of five dead babies found in Bexhill in February/March 1916.

When the Coroner summed up he pointed out that the acts of violence used must have been intentional and that it must have been the act of some fiendish hand or hands.

He noted that after life was extinct that an effort had been made to dispose of the body as secretly as possible but that after trying to burn it that the person or persons, probably encouraged by other recent cases in the town, had elected to get rid of the child's body by leaving it in the garden of an empty house.

The coroner alluded to the case which was the fifth in that month in Bexhill as being part of a diabolical system for getting rid of infant life in the town.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Aberdeen Journal - Saturday 18 March 1916

see Shepton Mallet Journal - Friday 24 March 1916