Unsolved Murders


Age: 0

Sex: male

Date: 17 Feb 1941

Place: Lilley Brook, Charlton Kings

The body of a newly-born child was found in Lilley Brook.

It was found wrapped up in brown paper and tied up with string.

The medical evidence showed that the child had died from asphyxia caused by the pressure of fingers on the child's neck, but the coroner suggested that there might have been a perfectly innocent explanation for it.

The doctor that carried out the post-mortem said that the child had been 8lbs 5oz in weight and 22 inches long. He added that there were indications that the child had been dead for more than 24 hours.

He added that there were no marks of injury on the surface of the child’s body and that there was no decomposition.

He said that he found a bruise about the size of a sixpence on the child's neck as though some pressure had been applied there. He said that there was also a bruise on the child’s head which he noted might have been caused before or after birth. He noted that the child’s lungs were expanded, which gave proof of a separate existence.

The body was found in a parcel by a gardener at the Lilley Brook Hotel. The gardener said that he found it in the brook and brought it to the bank and then called the police.

The police said that when they arrived, they found that the spot where the child was found was about 30 feet below the wall that ran along the roadside. They said that the water there was only about two or three inches deep. The police said that from the road, the wall was about eight feet tall and that it would have been easy for anyone to throw the parcel over the wall.

It was noted that the top of the parcel was dry and as such it was thought that the parcel had not been in the water for long. It was also noted that rain had fallen heavily during the early morning and it was thought that the upper part of the parcel would have been much wetter if it had been there all night.

The coroner said, 'It is the duty of any member of the public who has any knowledge in connection with the matter to inform the police. It should not be kept a secret. There has been some deliberate act on the part of some person or persons, at any rate in concealing the birth of the child. It would not be right to put it higher than that. It might well be that the injury has a perfectly innocent explanation'.

The coroner then returned an open verdict.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Gloucestershire Echo - Tuesday 25 February 1941, p6