Unsolved Murders


Age: 0

Sex: female

Date: 31 May 1955

Place: Preston-Kendal Canal, Slyne, Lancaster, Lancashire

The body of the newly-born female child was found in the canal at Slyne by three school boys on 31 May 1955.

The school boys had been walking along the Preston to Kendal canal towpath at Slyne at about 9.50pm when they saw the child's body floating in the water and told a local farmer who then called the police.

After the police were called out the decomposed body of the child was pulled out of the water.

One of the boys, a 15-year-old, said that he had been walking along with his two friends looking into the water to try and recognise fish in the water when at about 100 yards south of the bridge at Hasty Brow he saw something white in the water. He said that they turned it over and found that it was the body of a child and went off for help from a farmer at Bellmont Farm who then telephoned the police.

The farmer said that after the boys called at his farm he went to the canal with them to have a look and saw the body of the baby in the water. He noted that the part of the canal where it was found was much frequented.

The policeman that was called out said that when he got to the canal bank he saw the body of the child in about two feet of water. He said that it was badly decomposed and appeared to be headless.

The pathologist that carried out the post mortem on the child's body said that the evidence pointed to the child having been born alive and having had a separate existence, if only for a short time. He said that the body had probably been in the water for about a month but that it was not possible to determine the exact cause of death.

After hearing the evidence after a resumed inquest on 7 July 1955 the Coroner said that it was possible that a serious charge could be preferred against a person responsible for the child's death, but said that there was no evidence as to whether the infant's death had been natural or otherwise, noting that there was no evidence of any third party having been involved. However, he noted that an open verdict, whilst disposing of the inquest, would leave the police inquiries open.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Morecambe Guardian - Tuesday 12 July 1955, p7

see Lancaster Guardian - Friday 10 June 1955

see Lancaster Guardian - Friday 08 July 1955