Date: 3 Apr 1944
Place: Tivoli Road, Margate
The body of a newly-born female child was found in a dustbin in Tivoli Road, Margate.
The body was found on Wednesday 3 April 1944 by a Corporation lavatory attendant when she lifted the lid of the dustbin outside the lavatories in Tivoli Road.
The police surgeon that carried out the post-mortem on the child's body said that it weighed 6lbs and had not been born prematurely. He said that the body had several small scratches on its back, in the loin area, on the neck to the right back and also on its shoulder. He added that the back of the child's head showed some sign of bruising.
He noted that the child had had a separate existence and that its lungs were fully inflated.
The police surgeon noted that the child had considerable haemorrhage into the peritoneal cavity that was caused by a rupture of the liver. He said that there was a tear in the right side of the liver about one and a half inches long that extended through the whole thickness of the liver at that point.
He said that he thought that the rupture must have been caused by some violence from the outside.
He added that there was also haemorrhage into the skull due to some damage to the vessels of the brain that was more than would ordinarily be accounted for by the normal pressure of birth and that in his opinion that injury too had been caused by external violence. He noted that the child's skull was not fractured.
The police surgeon concluded that the child's cause of death was haemorrhage resulting from rupture of the liver.
When the police surgeon gave the cause of death, the coroner asked, 'In your opinion, is it quite clear that the rupture of the liver could not have been caused by the normal process of birth?', and the police surgeon replied, ''Quite definitely'.
The foreman then asked the police surgeon whether the rupture might have been caused by the use of some instrument at birth, but the police surgeon said that there were no exterior marks that coincided with the injury to the liver to support that theory.
The police surgeon added that the child had lived long enough to aerate the lungs fully, which he said, if the child had cried lustily, would not have taken more than five or ten minutes.
When the coroner summed up, he said that the circumstances were highly suspicious and that the only evidence was that the child had died from external violence. The coroner added, 'However suspicious one may feel, there is no evidence to show by whom that violence was applied, or in what circumstances, or with what intention. I should imagine it would be a very unusual way to kill a child, if one wanted to, by attempting to rupture the liver by pressure from outside. It is not the way anyone would know sufficiently about to try. In my opinion, if you find a verdict of 'Murder against some person or persons unknown', it will not carry us any further, because nobody could be put on trial on that inquisition. I think it will cover it if the jury return a verdict that death was caused by haemorrhage into the peritoneal cavity, caused by a rupture of the liver due to external violence, but that there is no evidence to show by whom or in what circumstances it was applied'.
After a few minutes’ deliberation, the jury returned a verdict of manslaughter against some person or persons unknown.
see Thanet Advertiser - Tuesday 09 May 1944