Unsolved Murders


Age: 0

Sex: female

Date: 22 Jan 1937

Place: Witham, Glory Hole, Lincoln

The body of a newly-born male child was found in the River Witham in the Glory Hole off of Water Lane in Lincoln.

It was found by a labourer that had been wheeling his barrow down the lane who said that he saw the parcel in the river wedged against a pile of the bridge and the wall. He said that he became suspicious and got hold of the string that the parcel was tied up with but said that it broke and so he got a piece of cloth and pulled the parcel out of the river.

He said that he then found that it contained the body of a baby and so he went to the High Street and told a policeman.

He said that he had gone past that spot in the river every day and not noticed anything there before. He said that the parcel had only been wet at the bottom as it was wedged between the pile and the river wall and was not actually floating in the water.

A policeman said that when he examined the parcel he found that the child was wrapped up in a check coat such as would be worn by a 16-year old girl. He said that then, inside, he found a piece of blue underskirt and a piece of calico nightdress. He said that when he saw it, the corners of the paper and the clothing were all still dry. He said that on the paper, written in blue crayon, the number 92 was written with what was thought to have been the word 'Cadbury'. He said that there were also other words but said that they could not be deciphered.

Later that day, the policeman said that he went with another policeman to a grass field near Broxholme Lane near the Scampton boundary where he found some women's underwear and a dress which were thought to have been left there between 5 and 7 April 1937.

The policeman also said that he didn't think that the parcel had been washed down the river and said that he also didn't think that it had been exposed for many hours.

The doctor that examined the child said that it was the body was extremely decomposed and said that there were no marks of violence. He said that he thought that it had decomposed on land and not in the water.

He said that during the post-mortem, he found a bruise on the right temple that had been caused either before or at the time of death. He also said that there was another contusion of blood at the base of the skull that might have been due to violence or decomposition.

He also noted that the child's lungs were fully expanded, indicating that the child had cried at birth, but said that there was insufficient evidence to give a cause of death.

He said that the child might have died from exposure, been suffocated, or might have died from a blow to the head but added that there was no evidence to show how it died.

He said that he thought that the child had died about 10-14 days beforehand.

The Coroner said that he thought that the case might have been one of murder, infanticide or accident, and said that the only thing that they could do was to return an open verdict, which the jury then did.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Lincolnshire Echo - Friday 16 April 1937