Unsolved Murders


Age: 0

Sex: male

Date: 4 Jun 1955

Place: Hazel Wood, Stallsfield, Faversham

The body of a newly-born female child was found in Hazel Wood, Stallsfield near Faversham on Saturday 28 May 1955 at about 2.20pm by a woodsman.

The body of the child was found under a sack by the woodsman, who had lived in Valley Cottages in Stalisfield, at the foot of a tree about six feet off a footpath and about 80 yards from the road. He said that when he went to look at the sack and opened it that he saw a child's hand and then went off to telephone the police.

When the police came out they found that the child was unclothed and was lying on its back with its legs drawn up in a bent position. He said that there was considerable bruising around the child's left eye an that an imprint of the sacking had been left on the child's flesh.

The policeman that examined the sack and the body said that the sack had also contained a woman's raincoat which he described as being very old and in a dirty condition, a piece of hessian and a small piece of dirty cotton sheeting.

At the inquest the police said that their enquiries into the matter were being made over a very wide area and were continuing and that they had visited all doctors, midwives and ante-natal clinics across that area.

When the Coroner asked the policeman whether he thought that the child could have been brought a considerable distance to the spot where it was found he said, 'Yes'.

The pathologist that carried out the post mortem on the child's body at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital said that the cause of death was asphyxia and a fractured skull. He added that he thought that the skull fracture played a great part in the cause of death and would have been on its own sufficient to have caused death.

He said that the marks on the child's body were consistent with the child having been crushed whilst in the sack. He noted that the injuries could not have been caused by the child being dropped onto the sacking. When the pathologist was asked what kind of blow he thought would have been necessary to have produced the sort of injuries found he replied, 'Without being dogmatic, I formed the impression that the injuries were caused by someone stamping on the face'. He additionally noted that he thought that the child's injuries had been inflicted before death and that they had been inflicted at the spot where the body was found.

He estimated that the child's death had taken place about 48 hours before he had carried out the post mortem and thought that the child had had a separate existence and had possibly lived for a few hours.

The inquest into the child’s death was adjourned in June 1955 for further inquiries and when it was resumed on 9 September 1955 a verdict of murder by a person or persons unknown was returned.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald - Saturday 04 June 1955, p4

see East Kent Gazette - Friday 09 September 1955