Age: 4 months
Date: 10 Dec 1954
The body of a mummified 4-month-old male child was found in a suitcase in the luggage room at the Chelsea Hospital for Women.
An open verdict was returned.
The body was found in the suitcase by an assistant matron.
The body was covered with a blanket and there was a blue gag around its mouth that was pinned at the back. The gag had covered the child's nose, mouth and chin. It was dressed in a blue pram suit.
The suitcase also contained a feeding bottle, a pair of women's stockings, a pair of knickers and a green woollen baby's twin set.
At the inquest it was heard that there were seven keys to the baggage rooms, one of which was held by the matron but the other six of which were in the possession of floor maids during the day although they were supposed to hand them in each evening. When the evidence was heard, the Coroner said, 'So any one of those seven persons could get in there?' to which the assistant matron replied, 'Yes, sir'. It was further noted that the police determined that there had been occasions when some of the floor maids had kept their keys overnight until the following mornings and it was noted that it would have been possible for any of them to have let other people in and also that it was possible for any of the baggage rooms to have been opened without the knowledge of the matron or assistant matron.
It was also noted that the baggage rooms had also on occasions been found unlocked.
The child's body was found after a sister complained that there was a nasty smell coming from one of the baggage rooms. A search was then made, and the child's body was found.
However, the pathologist that examined the child's body said that he thought that it had been dead for about a year, although he noted that that was only an approximation and that it might have been a longer or shorter period.
He added that the cause of the child's death was unascertainable.
The police detective who was in charge of the enquiries into the child's death said that they had interviewed between 40 and 50 people but had been unable to trace the child's mother or relatives.
see West London Observer - Friday 10 December 1954