Unsolved Murders

Louis Wedge

Age: 3

Sex: male

Date: 4 Apr 1998

Place: Maltby, South Yorkshire

Louis Wedge was drowned in a puddle by an isolated railway line near Maltby on 4 April 1998. 

He had gone out with some other children, a 3-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl, to an isolated spot by a railway some considerable distance from his home. The 15-year-old girl, who had learning difficulties, and the 3-year-old boy had both been close neighbours of Louis Wedge and were the last people to be seen with him.

Louis Wedge had lived in Birks Holt Drive in Maltby.

It was heard that much of the evidence was second-hand and came from unreliable witnesses.

The Crown Prosecution Service said that they were not going to make any prosecutions.

However, an open verdict was returned at the inquest.

It was suggested that he might have been drowned by the 3-year-old boy. The Coroner said that it was likely that Louis Wedge was killed unlawfully, but that the toddler was too young for criminal proceedings and it was not clear what had happened.

It was suggested that the 3-year-old boy might have held Louis Wedge's face down in the puddle until he died after they fell out whilst playing on the isolated railway line.

Both the 15-year-old girl and the 3-year-old boy were spotted in the street covered in mud by the 15-year-old girl's special needs tutor later on the day Louis Wedge disappeared. He said that when he asked where Louis Wedge was, they told him that they were no longer friends with him and that he had been 'dipped' in the water.

His postmortem stated that he had had some superficial injuries, but he had not been hit by a train.

The Home Office pathologist said that he had concluded that Louis Wedge had either fallen into the puddle through exhaustion and drowned, or had been pushed there and had his head held under the water.

It was noted that the location of the railway line would have been a three hour walk from Louis Wedge's home.

The Home Office pathologist added:

There remains a distinct possibility that Louis was held face-down sufficiently long enough for him to have drowned. This would account for bruising on his face.

The police said that they had spoken to the mother of the 15-year-old girl who said that her daughter had told her that the 3-year-old boy and Louis Wedge, who was also 3-years-old, had been arguing and that the 3-year-old boy hit Louis Wedge, causing him to fall over, and that the 3-year-old boy then got on his back and held him under the water. The 15-year-old girl said that she then tried to get Louis Wedge to stand up, but he couldn't.

It was noted that when the 3-year-old boy was later interviewed by the police, he refused to talk about what had happened. A detective said:

He was at ease for a lot of the time until talk progressed to the situation with Louis. He would then shut up, stand up and find any excuse not to talk about it.

A police inspector later said, after the inquest:

It's possible that a 3-year-old boy child is a killer, but I believe it's more likely that a combination of factors is behind the tragedy.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Aberdeen Press and Journal - Wednesday 26 August 1998

see Aberdeen Press and Journal - Thursday 09 April 1998