Unsolved Murders


Age: 0

Sex: male

Date: 27 Sep 1932

Place: River Tone, Taunton

The body of a newly born child was found in a brown paper parcel floating in the River Tone at Priory.

Police found a brooch of three 50 centime coins and some lucky charms in the parcel along with the body.

The pathologist said that there was not sufficient evidence to show that the child had been born alive.

The body was found by a labourer from Taunton that was walking along the river bank with a friend at about 2.45pm on the Tuesday. He said that he then saw a brown paper parcel floating in the river about six feet from the bank, caught by a log and submerged about two inches.

He said that he got a stick and with the help of a friend pulled the parcel out and said that when he then opened it he found the body of a child and at once went for the police.

A doctor that examined the child said that it was a male child born at full term. He said that the parcel was of brown paper tied with a thick cord and that one portion of the parcel was dry and looked fresh. He said that immediately inside the paper was some canvas that was only wet in parts and beneath that there was a portion of torn rubber apron. He said that the child was then wrapped up in a piece of coloured cotton material that looked like a small window curtain which was wet and enclosed the body. He said that then, near the body was a piece of paper that contained the brooch of three centime coins and the lucky charms. He said that there had been a good deal of pressure on the child's face and that its nose was completely flattened.

He said that he was unable to pronounce whether the child had been born alive or not. He said that if it had been born alive then it had only lived a few hours.

He said that he thought that the birth had taken place between three and six months before his examination. He also added that the body might not have been in the water that long. The Coroner asked if he deduced that the body had not been in the water long from the state of the paper parcel and the doctor said that the child might have been dead for three months but only in the water for a few hours.

He said that the child obviously had not had skilled attention at birth.

The doctor also stated that there were no indications of violence.

The policeman noted that there was a custom among roaming people to put charms in with a dead child and wish it 'Good luck' and 'Good-bye'.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser - Wednesday 28 September 1932