Unsolved Murders


Age: 0

Sex: male

Date: 13 Feb 1916

Place: Barrack Road Cemetary, Bexhill, Sussex

The body of a newly-born male child was found in Barrack Road Cemetery, Bexhill on Sunday 13 February 1916 at about 3.20pm.

The body was found by a 40-year-old woman who had lived in Preston Road, Sidley on the Sunday afternoon as she was walking past the cemetery with her mother about 3.20pm. She said that they had looked over the wall at the flowers and noticed a bundle between a grave and the wall.

She said that her mother went inside to examine it and uncovered the bottom and saw the feet of a child.

She said that they at once went for the police.

Child child's head had been wrapped up in speckled shirting and the whole body then wrapped up in a skirt.

At the inquest the woman said that she thought that the bundle had been placed where it was found and now thrown over the wall.

A policeman that was called to the scene at 3.25pm on the Sunday said that when he arrived at the cemetery that he found the child wrapped up in a skirt between a grave and the wall and that inside he found the body of a male infant.

He said that the petticoat that it's head was wrapped up in was made of Oxford shirting which was then tied loosely with tape around its neck. He said that the piece of tape bore the mark 'A23', however, he said that he had been unable to trace the mark through local laundries.

It was noted that the cemetery gates were always open.

A doctor that examined the body on Tuesday morning said that he found that it was in good condition but had had no nourishment. He said that it could not have been more than three or four days old on the Tuesday and that there were no marks of any sort.

He said that when he carried out the post mortem that he found that all its organs were healthy and that there had been no medical assistance at birth. He said that the child had breathed deeply and that he could find no definite cause of death, but said that it seemed to have died from want of attention at birth. He noted that it had not suffocated.

When the Coroner summed up he noted that it was evident that the child had been born alive and that it seemed probable that it died from want of attention, noting that that want of attention might have been intentional or accidental. He noted that it seemed as though the child should have lived but that there was no evidence of that.

He then said that it was quite clear that there had been an offence against the law, noting that that was no way to dispose of a body, and an open verdict was returned which would allow the police to pursue their inquiries.

There were a total of five dead babies found in Bexhill in February/March 1916.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Bexhill-on-Sea Observer - Saturday 18 March 1916