Unknown infant

Unknown Infant        1916 April 28th

Gruesome Discovery

A parcel which had been left in a waiting room at Salisbury L & SWR Station was opened on Tuesday morning and found to contain a child’s body in an advanced state of decomposition. The body was removed to the City Mortuary, and an inquest was held at the Council Chamber on Wednesday evening by the Coroner (Mr S Buchanan Smith), Mr Sidney Mould being appointed foreman.

Mrs Annie Freemantle, widow of Cornelius Freemantle, formerly stationmaster at Micheldever, said she was employed as waiting-room attendant at Salisbury Station, L & SWR. In the third class waiting room for ladies on No 2 Platform there was a cupboard in which she kept cleaning materials, and there was nothing but her own stuff in it on Saturday night. On Monday she saw a parcel there but took no particular notice, as the men who cleaned the windows used the cupboard. Next day, however, she thought the parcel had a strong smell, and after looking at it she sent for the station constable and handed it to him.

Constable Blades said he found it contained the decomposed body of a child. The city police were summoned by telephone, and the remains were taken to the mortuary.

Dr Gilbert Kempe, police surgeon, stated that the body was in such an advanced state of decomposition that it was impossible to determine the sex of the child or whether it had lived or not. It had been dead for several weeks. It had been placed in linen, but it was very much decomposed. It was impossible to say whether the child had had a separate existence or not.

The Coroner said he was afraid no evidence could be taken to carry the matter further, and the jury returned an open verdict.

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