Unsolved Murders

Baby 2

Age: 0

Sex: male

Date: 3 Mar 1916

Place: Terminus Road, Bexhill, Sussex

Three bodies of newly-born children were found wrapped up in paper and old clothes Terminus Road, Bexhill close to a public thoroughfare.

They were found wrapped up in brown paper between the fence and the hedge in Terminus Road.

They were found by a hawker that had lived in Salisbury Road that had been going to the South Eastern Railway Station in Terminus Road at about 9.30am on the Friday morning 3 March 1916. He said that when he went into Terminus Road he saw on the left-hand side on the land on the land beyond the fence that he saw a brown paper parcel on the road side of the hedge.

He said that he then asked another man to come and have a look at it and that he then climbed over the fence and cut the strong of the parcel and found a piece of sacking inside and that after removing that that he saw what appeared to be the body of a child. He said that there were several bits of clothes that looked like underskirts.

He noted that the grass underneath the parcel was not discoloured or crushed and thought that it would have been impossible to have thrown the parcel through te hedge from a train.

A policeman that arrived at the scene at 9.45am said that when he went up Terminus Road about 40 yards that just over a fence on the left -hand side that he saw the brown paper parcel which had been opened.

He said that there were three bodies inside, wrapped up as follows:

  1. Baby 1: Wrapped in in an old white blanket.
  2. Baby 2: Wrapped up in a piece of blue cloth.
  3. Baby 3: Wrapped up in a mauve petticoat.

He said that there were no marks on any of the clothing. He said that both the paper and the clothing were wet when he found them and that the paper was quite rotten although he noted that the grass was quite green where the parcel had been found.

Medical evidence showed that decomposition of the bodies probably commenced a year earlier. He said that they were all very decomposed and that he had been unable to determined their sex or whether they had been born alive. He said that they were not all the same age and thought that decomposition had probably started nearer a year earlier than six months.

He added that no one could say when death took place.

It was thought that they had been recently deposited at the spot where they were found.

An open verdict was returned in the case of each of the three infants.

The Coroner suggested that there might have been an agency in the district for disposing of children's bodies.

He said that there was a tendency to regard human life as cheap, but said that that must not be encourages, noting that at the present time that the life of an infant was as important to the nation as an adults.

He noted that the law assumed that every child in the world was born dead unless there was sufficient evidence to the contrary. However, he added that in the present case that it was impossible to ascertain whether the children had lived, but added however that it was probable that there had been foul play.

Open verdicts of 'Found dead' were returned on each of the bodies.

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

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Gloucestershire Echo - Monday 06 March 1916

see Bexhill-on-Sea Observer - Saturday 18 March 1916

see Western Gazette - Friday 10 March 1916

see Bexhill-on-Sea Observer - Saturday 11 March 1916