Unsolved Murders


Age: 10 days

Sex: male

Date: 18 Apr 1948

Place: River Hull, Thearne, Hull

The body of a newly-born baby was found in the River Hull at Thearne.

It was thought that it might have been beaten against a tree.

The police said that they thought that the child had been in the river for some weeks and might have floated for some distance before being washed on to the bank of the river. In an official statement the police said that they thought that the body might have been put in the water several miles from Thearne.

The body was found by a man that had lived in Cholmley Street in Boulevard, Hull as he was walking along the riverbank on the afternoon of 18 April 1948. He said that he saw the child's body lying near the water and then informed the police who removed it to Cottingham where the post-mortem examination was carried out.

The post-mortem revealed that the child had probably lived for about 10 to 14 days and that it had been in the water for some weeks. It also revealed that the child had been drowned, but also had head injuries. The doctor said that most of the child’s skin was mummified. He said, 'This child probably died as a result of shock following a blow on the head from a blunt instrument, probably aggravated by immersion'. He said that there was a large bruise on the child's skull which he considered had been caused before death.

The doctor said, 'The body seemed to be that of a healthy child at least 10 days old which had received attention at birth. There was no fracture of the skull under the bruising'.

When the doctor was questioned by the coroner, he said, 'I think the child might have been dropped or beaten against a tree or even the ground. I do not think it was accidental. The child did not die as a result of drowning'.

The police visited hospitals and nursing homes in the area in a bid to find the mother, and midwives were questioned in an effort to identify the child.

They said that there was no indication as to where the body might have been put into the water, but they pointed out that only at unusually high tides, which occurred infrequently, would the body have been deposited on the river bank where it was found.

A verdict of wilful murder against some person or persons was returned.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Hull Daily Mail - Friday 23 April 1948

see Hull Daily Mail - Tuesday 20 April 1948