Unsolved Murders

Baby

Age: 0

Sex: female

Date: 13 Dec 1939

Place: Felpham

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

The body of a newly born female child was found at Felpham wrapped up in a brown paper parcel on the sands.

It was found partly buried in the sand below the high-water mark and was thought to have been dead for about 10 days.

The man that found the parcel said that the top of the parcel was not what would call dry and said that he tore off one of the corners and then saw what he took to be the leg of a child.

When the police arrived, they found that the parcel was neatly tied up with several pieces of string and that inside the brown paper there was a wrapping of newspaper and then a piece of fabric like a towel. The policeman that examined it said that he thought that the parcel had been covered by one tied over.

Another policeman that went to the beach said that the parcel was about four feet below the high-water mark. He said that when he unwrapped it he found that the fabric wrapping was possibly a piece of bedspread and said that the newspaper wrapping was dated 26 November 1939.

Its cause of death was given as being due either to suffocation of drowning.

The doctor said that the child had been born full term and that in his opinion its cause of death was suffocation and not drowning.

He said that he found some suggestions of a ligature having been tied round it's neck but said that that might have been caused by the tying up of the parcel.

He said that if the child had died within an hour and a half of birth that it might have died from natural causes or the mucus obstructing its air passages. He said that he found none of the ordinary signs for taking a child's life. He said that he thought that the child’s death fitted with a case where a young woman had had an illegitimate child with probably no assistance or medical knowledge.

The inquest heard that the brown paper was dry.

An open verdict was returned.


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


see Chichester Observer - Saturday 16 December 1939, p4

see Bognor Regis Observer - Wednesday 23 August 1939