Date: 4 Mar 1939
The body of a newly-born female child was found in Moor Dike stream near Ings Bridge, Beverly High Road in Hull by some boys that had been playing on the bank.
When they first found it, some of the boys indicated that they were going to bury it, but they then just threw it back into the water. However, one of the boys, a 13-year-old, then got it out again and took it to the police. The boy that did so was warmly complimented at the inquest.
The 13-year-old said, 'They got over the railings and started throwing stones at something in the water. I went up and asked them what it was. They told me it was a baby, and they were going to bury it. Then they let it go back into the drain. I hauled it out and went to the police-box for a policeman. The other two lads rode away, and that was the last I saw of them'.
When the boy was asked how he knew it was a baby, he said that he could see the back of its head and its legs.
The parcel that the child had been wrapped up in had consisted of three layers of paper tied up with string and was thought to have been in the water for about seven days. The paper wrappings consisted of a layer of greaseproof paper, then a layer of thin brown paper and then a layer of thick brown paper.
The cause of death was stated as not being due to drowning but due to shock and heart failure, probably due to immersion in water. When the doctor was asked whether he thought that the child had been wrapped up in the parcel alive the doctor said that he thought that the child might have died as a result of being immersed in water and that it had died sufficiently quickly to show no signs of asphyxia. He added that in other words, the child had died practically immediately from shock and that he was satisfied that it had not drowned.
The doctor said that he thought that the child had been born alive and that respiration had been strongly established and that it had had a separate existence from its mother.
However, he said that he could not say whether the child was dead before it was put into the drain. He also said that he could find no trace of exclusion of air from air passages and that it was possible to wrap a child in any amount of paper and not exclude the atmospheric air.
When the doctor was asked whether it was possible that the child could have died after some ignorant person had bathed it in water that was too hot, the doctor said that he agreed with the possibility that the child could have died from immersion into water that was either to hot or too cold. The Coroner then added that it was quite possible that the child could have died from being bathed in water that was either too hot or cold.
When a policeman went to the drain and saw the parcel he said that there was nothing over its face or legs except a small piece of greaseproof paper. He agreed that the drain was a tidal stream and that the action of the water might have washed some of the paper away and that the parcel might have been placed in the water some miles away. He also added hat it might have been possible that it had been thrown from a passing motor car.
When the Coroner summed up he said, 'The child might have died as the result of being thrown into the drain, but it seemed that it had been wrapped in a definite and complete parcel. There was a certain amount of mystery as to whether the parcel was wrapped round a live or a dead child. It seems inconceivable to me that anyone would wrap up a live child in a parcel like this. It may have been that the mother put it into too cold or too hot water, and that it died of heart failure. Then she got panic-stricken and decided to wrap up this child in a parcel and throw it into the drain'.
When the jury was told that they could consider two verdicts, that of a verdict of murder against some person or persons unknown or an open verdict, they returned an open verdict.
see Hull Daily Mail - Saturday 04 March 1939
see Yorkshire Evening Post - Saturday 04 March 1939