Portnell infant

Portnell infant             1917 June 1 Amesbury

Discovery of a Child’s Body on an Hotel Roof at Amesbury

The discovery of the dead body of an infant upon the roof of an hotel was reported at an inquest held by the Coroner for South Wilts (Mr F H Trethowan) at Amesbury Workhouse on Friday. Mr F Hale was appointed foreman of the jury.

Sarah Berry, cook at the Avon Hotel, Amesbury, said she was the wife of Horace William Berry, who is serving in France with the RGA. On Tuesday, May 22nd, Jane Portnell came to the hotel as kitchen maid. Early in the afternoon she remained in the lavatory about three-quarters of an hour, and afterwards went upstairs carrying something wrapped in paper. In consequence of what was afterwards discovered a doctor was called in to examine Portnell, who was sent to the Workhouse. Witness saw the dead body of a child in Portnell’s bedroom the next day.

Emily Harris, chambermaid at the hotel, said she went up to the girl’s room on May 23rd, got out of the window on to the roof and found a parcel wrapped in a blue apron and a piece of paper. It contained the dead body of a child.

Dr H Browne, of Amesbury, spoke of his examination of the maid and the body of the child. As a result of his post mortem examination he came to the conclusion that the child was still-born.

The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.


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