Unsolved Murders


Age: 0

Sex: female

Date: 14 May 1903

Place: Warminster Road, Bath

The body of a new-born female child was found under a tree in Warminster Road in Bath.

It was found on the afternoon of Sunday 14 May 1903.

The body was enclosed in a parcel.

A doctor said that the child had had a separate existence and that its death was due to a fracture to the side of the head. He said that the fracture had apparently been caused by a blunt instrument and could not have been caused by a fall.

There was no evidence to show how it came to be under the tree, but a housekeeper at Hazlewood said that she saw two men running away from the spot shortly before it was found. She said that she had been coming out of the front gate on the Sunday 14 May 1903 just after 2pm when she saw two men, one underneath the tree and the other stood in the path. She said that when they saw her they both ran off down the road but that she didn't take any notice as to which way they went.

However, she said that she then saw the parcel underneath the tree where the men had been standing, noting that it was saturated with blood. She said that she didn't touch it but saw two boys nearly at the bottom of the road and called them and told them that there was a parcel under the tree and that she then went on and told two policemen.

The parcel had not been concealed.

One of the boys that the housekeeper called over, who lived in Walcot Street and who had been a baker, said that the parcel was underneath the ninth tree from the bottom of the road on the left hand side. He said that a child's foot had been sticking out of it.

When a policeman arrived he said that he found the parcel untied and that underneath a piece of brown paper he saw the child's body which he removed to the mortuary. He said that he made inquiries, but without success.

The doctor that examined the child said that it was that of a newly born fully developed female child and that it had not been properly attended to. He said that it had just started decomposition and had evidently been dead for about three weeks.

He said that when he carried out the post mortem he found that the child had been born alive but that its stomach was empty. He said that underneath the scalp there was a fracture and a large quantity of blood on the surface of the brain. He noted that the face seemed bruised. He said that the fracture appeared to have been made with some blunt instrument and that he didn't think it could have been done by a thorn.

He said that the child's death was due to the fracture and that it might have been done with a poker but not by a fall.

The Coroner said that the evidence pointed to the child having been murdered and the jury returned a verdict of wilful murder against some person or persons unknown.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Western Gazette - Friday 29 May 1903