Unsolved Murders


Age: 0

Sex: female

Date: 28 Sep 1956

Place: Preston to Kendal Canal, Aqueduct Bridge, Caton Road, Lancaster

The body of a newly-born female child was found in the Preston to Kendal Canal with a brick tied to it on 28 September 1956.

The body was found by a labourer that had worked for Lansil Ltd as he was walking along the towpath on his way to work at 7.30am on 28 September 1956 near the Aqueduct Bridge almost opposite the steps that went down to Caton Road.

He said that when he was near the Aqueduct Bridge almost opposite the steps that went down to Caton Road that he saw a bulky object in the water which he thought might be a dog or a doll and that after he went to investigate he found it to be the body of a baby wrapped up in paper.

He said, 'I was walking along the canal bank when I saw what looked to be a parcel in the water' and that at first he walked past but then turned back to have another look. He said that he initially thought it was a doll but that on looking closer he saw that it was a baby and  said 'There was a piece of string tied round the baby's middle with an ordinary building brick tied to the end of it.

He then informed the police.

It was noted that another Lansil worker had also seen the baby in the canal and had been about to call the police when he heard that the other man had already done so. He said that he thought that the baby had been in a paper bag.

When the police arrived they found the child's body lying in six inches of water, saying that it appeared to have been in the water some time and that half a brick was tied round the body with a piece of string.

The child's body was taken to the mortuary at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary where an examination was carried out. When the child's body was examined at the mortuary they found lint and cotton wool in its mouth.

There was no sign of a struggle and it was noted that it would have been possible for the body to have been placed in the canal further along and to have drifted.

The police said that they had made extensive inquiries, but had been unable to trace anyone who might have been responsible. It was reported that there was no clue as to the identity of the child.

The pathologist said that when he examined the child's body that he found that it was female, but that he found no evidence of it having had a separate existence and that the child's death appeared to have taken place three weeks earlier.

He also said that he thought that the body had been in the water for about three weeks and that it was impossible to diagnose its exact cause of death. However, he added that he felt that the cotton wool found in the child's mouth would have been sufficient to have choked it if it had been alive when it was put there.

When the Coroner summed up, he noted that it was obvious that some third party had put the child in the canal and that the child might have been still born or born alive, but that there was insufficient evidence to ascertain the child's cause of death and an open verdict was returned.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Lancaster Guardian - Friday 16 November 1956, p9

see Lancaster Guardian - Friday 05 October 1956