Unsolved Murders


Age: 0

Sex: female

Date: 5 Dec 1958

Place: Charing Cross Station, London

The body of a newly-born female child was found in the ladies' lavatory at Charing Cross main line station in London on Friday 5 December 1958.

The body was found by a lavatory attendant who lived in Freemantle Street, Old Kent Road, in a bin. The police were then called at 10.30am.

The post mortem found that the child died from asphyxia due to the presence of a piece of cotton wool in its throat. When the pathologist was asked whether it was possible that the piece of cottonwool might have been inhaled by the child whilst its mouth was being cleaned, the pathologist replied, 'It is possible'.

The pathologist said that the child had been born alive and lived for between 10 and 20 minutes but that it had been born 8 weeks prematurely and added that there were no marks of violence on the child's body.

The police said that they had caried out enquiries throughout London and the Home Counties but had been unable to trace the child's mother, noting that the mother could have come from any part of the country.

When the Coroner summed up he said that the evidence that they had heard at the inquest did not bear any relation to the enormous amount of investigations that had gone on into the case.

He said that if a person or persons had the intention of killing the child that the most effective way of doing it would be by deliberately stuffing the air passages with cotton wool and that the jury would have to find that that was murder. However, he then said, 'It could be that an unmarried mother having a child, helped by someone who knew something about the birth of babies, had no intention of killing the child, but being unskilled let slip the piece of cotton while cleaning the mouth which blocked the air passages and asphyxiating the child. That would be an accidental death. That might possibly be followed by panic and a desire to get rid of the baby in an anonymous way. I must tell you that there is insufficient evidence for you to give a definite verdict here. You cannot say here whether it was an accident or murder'.

The jury then returned an open verdict, stating that there was insufficient evidence to show how the child met its death.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Chelsea News and General Advertiser - Friday 19 December 1958

see Chelsea News and General Advertiser - Friday 23 January 1959