BOYS FIND ON EPSOM COMMON
"Found dead" was the verdict of the jury who inquired into the circumstances of the death of the newly-born male child which was discovered wrapped in a brown paper parcel on Epsom Common on Thursday evening of last week. The inquest was held at the Court house on Friday afternoon and was conducted by Mr. Gilbert White, the district Coroner.
Ernest Pratt, 7 Middle Lane, Epsom, aged twelve, said that he was on Headly Common between half-past seven and eight o'clock on Thursday evening, when he found the parcel, which was tied to a tree by a piece of string. The parcel itself was tied together with another piece of string. It was hanging on a thin branch. Witness removed it and opened it. When he saw what it contained, he placed it where he had found it, and another boy went for a policeman. Witness remained there until the constable arrived. He had not been by that spot previously on that day, nor had he seen anyone about there, only the boys who were with him.
By the Jury - He had been up to the Woodcote Camp to sell his papers and went on the Common for a walk.
P.c. Lawson said that at 7.45 p.m. on Thursday, he was called by the last witness, who said, "Here's a baby behind the bushes." About thirty yards from the roadway he saw the parcel, which was untied. The boy said "It was hanging on the tree and I thought it was a pair of boots, and I cut it down." The body was wrapped in cloth, with a piece of brown paper round it, and tied up with string, with a brick attached to it. Witness took the body to the station, where it was examined by Dr. Thornely, and afterwards removed to the mortuary.
By the Jury - The body was lying on a spot almost opposite the Woodcote Park Gates.
Dr. William Thornely, police surgeon, stated that the body was that of a male child. A post-mortem revealed that it was an eight months child and was capable of having had a separate existence. There were no signs of violence about the body. He came to the conclusion that the child had breathed, and the cause of death was probably due to omission of attention at birth. The child should have lived had it received proper care.
The Foreman Juror - Were there any signs of suffocation?
Witness - No sir.
The Jury agreed that death was due to inanition and returned the above verdict.
From 'The Epsom Advertiser', 14 May 1915, transcribed by Hilary Marogna