Unsolved Murders

Martin Garner

Age: 3 months

Sex: male

Date: 14 Mar 1960

Place: Hill Farm, Thurlaston, Leicestershire

Martin Garner was found dying in his cot from head injuries at his home, Hill Farm in Thurlaston on the night of Monday 14 March 1960.

An open verdict was returned at his inquest. The Coroner said that there was not enough evidence to show how he came by his injuries, adding, 'It is a very sad and puzzling case'.

His father said that he could not remember Martin Garner receiving any knock on the day he died.

The pathologist that examined Martin Garner's body said that he found that he had an abnormally thin skull, noting that it was thinner that even that of a baby when it was born.

He said that Martin Garner's skull was fractured in several places but said that he actually died from the inhalation of vomit, his sickness being caused by his skull injuries.

He said that he found Martin Garner to be well nourished and apparently well cared for and that there were no external signs of injury and that he was surprised when he found the fractures.

He said that he thought that the injuries had been caused several hours before he died and that the fractures would not have necessarily have been fatal.

He said that he thought that they could have been caused by a trivial blow or a slight stumble.

When the Coroner asked the doctor whether he thought that the fractures could have been caused by Martin Garner banging his head against the sides of the cot the pathologist said, 'No'. However, he said that they might have been caused by Martin Garner striking his head against a sharp corner of his cot.

The doctor that was called out to the farm on the Monday at about 11pm said that he found Martin Garner's mother nursing her dead child in her arms by the fire.

It was noted at the time of the inquest that she was still very distressed and too upset to attend the inquest.

Martin Garner's father, a farmer, said that Martin Garner had been a strong, healthy child and had progressed quickly.

When he was asked whether he could remember Martin Garner having suffered a knock a few hours before he died he replied, 'No. But I might have knocked him against the stairs as I was taking him up to bed, but he was in his carry cot and would hardly have felt a thing'.

He added that they had been in the habit of putting Martin Garner on a cushion in the afternoons and had let their boy, aged nearly three, play with him.

When the Coroner asked Martin Garner's father whether he thought the elder child could have given Martin Garner a tap, he said, 'I hardly think so because my wife never heard the baby cry and he appeared to be all right'.

He said that Martin Garner had been fed at about 6pm on 14 March 1960 and placed on the living-room table until 10pm at which time he was then taken up to bed.

He said that shortly afterwards thy found him gasping for breath.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Leicester Evening Mail - Friday 18 March 1960

see Leicester Evening Mail - Thursday 17 March 1960

see Leicester Evening Mail - Tuesday 15 March 1960