Unsolved Murders


Age: 0

Sex: male

Date: 20 Sep 1924

Place: Willow Lane, Mitcham

The body of a newly born male child was found at a brickyard in Mitcham on the afternoon of Saturday 20 September 1924.

It was found in a lonely spot in the brickfield in Willow Lane by a 28-year-old man that had worked at the brickyard. He said that on the Saturday forenoon, about 11.30am, he had been sent on an errand and took a shortcut along an unused footpath when he saw a parcel lying in an excavated part of the brickfield. He said:

I kicked it with my foot and the parcel flew open. I saw human flesh, and examining it closer, observed a child's head.

When asked whether the paper was dry or wet, he said that it had been rotten.

When he was asked whether anybody else had been past the spot before that morning, the man said that it was a spot where hardly anyone went owing to the bank being dangerous.

When he was asked whether he thought that the parcel might have been there some time, he said that it might have been there some months because months would pass with nobody using the pass.

He noted that it was about 8 yards from Willow Lane and that there had been a hedge between the brickfield and Willow Lane, adding that it was possible to get to the spot from Willow Lane by going through the hedge and netting.

A police constable said that he went to the brickfields at about 12.10pm on the Saturday and saw the child lying on the side of the bank, partly wrapped in a piece of linen and enclosed in newspaper. However, he said that an examination of it led to nothing that could identify it.

A doctor said that he saw the body at the police station but that it had been in such an advanced state of putrefaction that he couldn't tell whether any violence had been used to cause death. He said that he thought that it had been dead for about a fortnight.

He said that he then carried out a post mortem examination and that from the condition of what was left of the lungs, was in no doubt that the child had had a separate existence. He said that the child had been well developed and above the average weight and that it was quite possible that it had died from inattention at birth.

When questioned, he said that he thought that if the child had received attention at birth that it might have survived.

A detective sergeant said that he had made every inquiry in the district but without success. 

When the Coroner summed up, he said:

I know it is a very difficult matter in these cases. It is impossible for me to come to any definite conclusion on such slender evidence, and I shall record an open verdict of 'Found dead'. That leaves it open for the police to carry the matter further if possible.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Norwood News - Tuesday 23 September 1924