Date: 26 Apr 1947
The body of a newly born female child was found in the River Ribble by a fisherman on Saturday 26 April 1947.
He had been fishing in the river when he saw a pillowcase containing the body of the child and two half-bricks. He said that he had started fishing in Brungerley Park at about 2.35pm on 26 April 1947 about 70 yards from the West Bradford entrance. He said that as he was working downstream towards Brungerley Bridge he noticed the white bag near the Clitheroe side of the river in about 18 inches of water about a yard from the river bank, noting that it was about four yards away from him when he first noticed it and that the top of the bag was lying across some stones projecting above the water. He said that the bag was tied with string halfway down and that he then cut the string and found that it contained a brown paper parcel and then when he then removed part of the brown paper he saw the limb of a child.
He said that he then called over to another fisherman who then telephoned for the police.
The body had been wrapped up in a piece of linen cloth before being put into the pillowcase, and the two half-bricks had each been wrapped up in a copy of The Radio Times dated the week of 9 to 15 April 1947.
The police said that the medical opinion was that the child had died within 48 hours of birth.
A policeman that examined the child said that she had a piece of string wrapped tightly three times round her neck.
The post-mortem revealed that the child had been strangled with a piece of string around its throat, with the cause of death given as being due to asphyxia caused by strangulation, due to a tight ligature of string.
A doctor said that the child was full term and well developed but had never been fed or had proper attention at birth.
He said that both of the child's lungs had functioned normally and there was no doubt that her death was due to violence.
When the inquest was adjourned on 2 May 1947, the police said that they had so far not been able to find the person or persons responsible for the death of the child, and said, 'This is murder. This child had a right to live and was strangled. We appeal for every help from the public in our investigations. I feel that there must be someone living in Clitherore or the immediate vicinity who must have seen something that would be useful to us, and I ask such person or persons to come forward with this information, which will be treated in the strictest confidence'.
However, no further developments arose and a verdict of murder by some person or persons unknown was returned after the inquest resumed on 27 June 1947.
see Clitheroe Advertiser and Times - Friday 27 June 1947
see Lancashire Evening Post - Monday 28 April 1947
see Clitheroe Advertiser and Times - Friday 02 May 1947