Unsolved Murders


Age: 0

Sex: male

Date: 30 Oct 1927

Place: College Road, Colliers Wood, London

The body of a newly-born child was found in an attache case at a property in College Road, Colliers Wood on 30 October 1927.

A pathologist said that the child had died from asphyxia.

The attache case had had the initials FWC on it along with the initials and surname and address Skinner Street, Gillingham, Kent on it. The case had been found by the aunt of the woman who lived in College Road who identified the name and address as being that of her niece. There had also been an item of clothing with her nieces name on it in the case.

The child's body had been wrapped up in brown paper.

When the woman whose initials had been on the attache case attended the inquest she refused to give evidence.

A doctor that examined the child said that it had been born alive and that its cause of death was asphyxia and that there were no marks of violence.

Another doctor from Mayday Road Hospital said that he had recently attended the woman whose initials were on the case, saying that she had been admitted at 12.20pm on 28 September 1927 and had the appearance of having lost a quantity of blood and said that an operation was performed after which she made a good recovery and was discharged towards the end of October 1927.

Another doctor from Colliers Wood that had attended the woman professionally since April 1927 for anaemia said that she had paid him about ten visits up to 2 August 1927 after which he didn't see her again until he was later called to see her at College Road where he examined her and found that she had signs consistent with a certain event and sent her to Mayday Road Hospital almost immediately.

When the Coroner summed up he said that it was a case of a newly-born female child being found in a suitcase and that the pathologist had said that the child had been born alive. He said that the owner of the suitcase had declined to give evidence and that there was nothing more except circumstantial evidence that might satisfy them, noting that the doctor had said that the woman had been admitted to the hospital in a certain condition.

He went on to say that the evidence of the pathologist had said that although death had been due to asphyxia that there were no signs of violence and noted that when a mother gave birth to a child without help that it would be readily understood what a poor chance the child had and that from the evidence of another doctor it appeared that the woman had not been aware of her condition, in which case the child would have had still less chance.

The Coroner said then that it was for the jury to decide:

  1. Was the child born alive?
  2. Was there enough evidence to satisfy them that the woman, the owner of the suitcase, was the mother of the child?

He said that if they were satisfied they must ask themselves the question whether she was aware of anything happening during the birth of the child, and if she was aware, did she wilfully neglect to take proper precautions?

He said that if they came to the conclusion that the mother was wilfully negligent that they must return a verdict of infanticide, but that if they were satisfied that the mother of the child had been unaware of what was happening then they could return a verdict of misadventure. However, he added that if they were not satisfied on either then they could return an open verdict.

The jury spent seven minutes considering their decision and returned an open verdict, adding that they were satisfied that the woman had been the mother of the child.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Croydon Times - Saturday 12 November 1927