Unsolved Murders


Age: 0

Sex: male

Date: 16 Dec 1961

Place: 17 West Cromwell Road, Kensington, London

The body of a newly-born male child was found in a box in the back garden of 17 West Cromwell Road, Kensington on 16 December 1961.

It was found by a stockbroker that had lived in the property during a chance visit into his garden whilst he was looking for some old bricks. He said that he saw a fruit box and thought that he could see a rubber doll in it through the slats. However, he said that upon closer inspection that he found that it was not a rubber doll but the body of a baby.

Following the discovery of the child's body the police carried out around 1,000 interviews in the West Cromwell Road area, however, they were unable to identify the child's parents.

The pathologist said that the child had been about a fortnight premature and had had a short separate existence.

He said that it had considerable bruising of the scalp and fractures of the skull on both sides and gave the cause of death as brain haemorrhage due to a fracture of the skull that might have been caused through a rapid birth.

The Coroner asked the pathologist whether it would have been possible for the child's mother to have scaled the 6 foot wall that had surrounded the garden after having given birth and the pathologist replied that it would have been possible for her to have scaled even two or three 6 foot walls.

It was noted that the gardens of four streets backed on to number 17. A detective inspector said that separating the back gardens of the houses was a thick wall which it was possible to walk along and that there were two accesses to the wall. He added that there were about 50 houses in the block with a floating population of about 1,000.

He added that that had instituted inquiries at every house in the block, without success, saying, 'There are many visitors, foreigners, and young people living in the area. It might have been anyone. We found no clues at all in our search for a recently pregnant woman'.

When the Coroner summed up he noted that the cause of death might also have been through blows on the head.

However, it was heard that there was insufficient evidence as to the circumstances and an open verdict was returned.

17 West Cromwell Road appears to have been demolished along with the rest to the southern side of the street for the widening of the A4 West Cromwell Road.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Kensington Post - Friday 02 February 1962