Cause of death of newborn baby still unknown after inquest

Carrow House, the location of Norfolk Coroner's Court.

Carrow House, the location of Norfolk Coroner's Court. - Credit: ANTONY KELLY

A newborn baby who was found concealed in a handbag died from unknown causes, an inquest has heard.

The baby, whose exact date of birth is unknown but was given as May 11, 2020,  was found on May 18 outside her mother's home address in Acle.

Norfolk Police are not treating her death as suspicious, but said investigations had taken place into various people involved and it was not in the public interest to pursue the matter as the large number of "gaps in the investigation cannot be adequately filled to satisfy the requirements of criminal law".

Concerns had been raised for the baby's mother on May 15 by her then-boyfriend and social worker who believed she was pregnant but not in receipt of antenatal care.

Officers from Norfolk Police visited the mother, who claimed she had miscarried days earlier and was around three months pregnant.

On May 18, she visited Acle Police Station where she admitted giving birth to a near-full term baby girl and had concealed her in a black handbag at her home.

Police officers and paramedics returned to search the caravan where the baby girl was found.

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A postmortem carried out at Great Ormond Street Hospital concluded the medical cause of death was unascertained, but said it was likely due to acute hypoxia potentially combined with the affects of abandonment. 

No injuries or abnormalities were found, while air was detected in the stomach, which may suggest the baby was alive at birth, although it could be as a result of CPR attempts, which the mother denied making. 

An inquest was held into her death at Norfolk Coroner's Court on Tuesday, March 9, where area coroner Yvonne Blake made an open conclusion.

She said: "The only reasonable conclusion I can come to is an open one because I don't know what happened to cause her death."

*Names and details of those involved have been left out of the article.