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Baby

Age: 0

Sex: female

Date: 28 Mar 1955

Place: 83 Station Road, Whitstable, Kent

The body of a female child was found wrapped up in newspaper in an allotment off Station Road in Whitstable on Monday 28 March 1955.

It was found at about 10am on the allotment opposite 83 Station Road by a man. He said that he had not seen the parcel there on the Saturday when he went to the allotment at about 7.30am and that he first noticed it there on the Sunday at 7.30am but did not open it but that after seeing it there again on the Monday when he went to the allotment again at 7.30am he took a look and found that it contained the body of a child. He said that it was in the allotment and that he had to put his hands through some railings to get hold of it and that when he opened it he saw the face of the baby.

A policeman was called out and he removed the child's body from the allotment. He said that when he examined the newspaper wrappings that he found that they were made from the centre pages of three national papers dated 6 and 9 March 1955 and a country newspaper bearing a February 1955 date. He said that the newspaper pages were bloodstain and had not been tied around the child's body, just wrapped.

A pathologist that carried out the post mortem on the child said that its cause of death was due to lack of care and attention at birth and that the child had probably died within 48 hours of the post mortem being carried out. He said that the child had weighed 6lbs and that there were no marks of violence.

When the Coroner summed up he said, 'The mother of this child is somewhere in this country, she may be in Whistable, but we do not know where she is. As the child was found on March 28th, and you remember the man said that on the Saturday there was no parcel but on the Sunday he noticed the newspaper, it looks as if the child was born and died somewhere around Saturday, March 26th and it looks as though the child's body was put on the allotment between March 26th and March 27. If the child was only 48 hours old when the pathologist carried out his examination on the Monday, you might think that perhaps it was not the mother who put the child on the allotment. However, these are matters of conjecture and there is no evidence on them, so you will probably consider that we should clear this matter up with an open verdict. Though the cause of death was not violence, because it was lack of care and attention at birth, that is more or less the criminal responsibility of the mother, if not somebody else, and you can return a verdict of that. But you have no evidence before you that it was wilful. It is just possible to conceive that it might not have been wilful, so in the absence of evidence I think your proper course is to return an open verdict on the grounds that the evidence does not further disclose the means whereby the cause of death arose'.

After a short consultation the jury then returned an open verdict.


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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald - Saturday 30 April 1955

see Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald - Saturday 02 April 1955