Date: 17 May 1949
A baby was found wrapped up in newspaper in a cloakroom at the Forum Cinema on 17 May 1949.
The cause of death was given as being due to manual strangulation, but it was thought that if death had not resulted from asphyxia that the child would have otherwise died from very extensive haemorrhage both inside and outside of the skull.
The doctor said, 'I think the method by which death was caused was that the child was gripped by someone facing her, gripped with a left hand, the palm covering the face and nose and crushing it upwards. While that was being done, the child's head was being gripped by the right hand from above to stop it struggling, and it was very forceful gripping from side to side which caused extensive haemorrhage and fracture of the skull. It was a completely healthy child and there was no reason why it should have died a natural death. It had had a separate existence and had breathed, probably cried, for at least five minutes, probably longer'.
A waitress at the Forum Cinema who lived in Kingsmead Terrace said that at 6.30pm on 17 May 1949 a woman came to her and said, 'There's a parcel in the cloakroom with some rabbits in it'. She said that she didn't know the woman, but would recognise her again, saying that she was about 35 years of age, adding that she didn't appear excited. When she gave her evidence at the inquest, the coroner asked her, 'She was just giving you information about lost property?', to which the waitress replied, 'Yes'.
A policeman that examined the body of the child said that he was satisfied that the body must have been taken into the cloakroom after it was dead and added that fingerprints found on the wrappings were being examined.
The coroner noted that the post-mortem findings gave strong rise to the suspicion of murder, but noted that no evidence had actually been brought to show how its injuries had been inflicted and additionally noted that no evidence had been brought forward to identify it.
He concluded that the child had died from asphyxia, but that there was not sufficient evidence to determine how it was caused and the jury returned an open verdict.
see Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Saturday 25 June 1949
see Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Saturday 21 May 1949