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Newborn Baby S found at Sackers recycling centre in Needham Market died as a result of unascertained brain injury, Suffolk Coroner's Court rules



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A newborn baby who was found at a Suffolk recycling centre died as a result of traumatic brain injury, but Suffolk Coroner's Court have been unable to determine the cause.

'Baby S' was discovered in the afternoon on May 14, 2020, at Sackers recycling centre in Ipswich Road, Needham Market.

Despite repeated appeals by Suffolk Police, the mother or father of the baby girl have never been identified.

Image from the funeral of Baby S earlier this year. Picture: Mecha Morton
Image from the funeral of Baby S earlier this year. Picture: Mecha Morton

During an inquest at Suffolk Coroner's Court today, Coroner Nigel Parsely revealed post-mortem examinations into the death found extensive injuries to the newborn.

Baby S, who had been transported to the site in one of two lorries collecting commercial recycling waste from 52 locations on that day, had injuries to her brain, neck and face as well as bruising to her mouth and tongue.

A statement by pathologist Dr Virginia Fitzpatrick-Swallow, who was assisted by a specialist paediatric pathologist and a neuropathologist, confirmed Baby S was born full term and was approximately less than 24 hours old when she died.

During an inquest at Suffolk Coroner's Court today, Coroner Nigel Parsely revealed post-mortem examinations into the death found extensive injuries to the newborn.
During an inquest at Suffolk Coroner's Court today, Coroner Nigel Parsely revealed post-mortem examinations into the death found extensive injuries to the newborn.

The post-mortem examinations also identified no abnormalities that would have caused the baby's death naturally.

Dr Fitzpatrick-Swallow's report explained it was impossible to ascertain how the injuries were sustained as the examination was hindered by 'post-mortem trauma' in the waste processing system.

She said findings suggested Baby S died of traumatic brain injury and said some injuries were in keeping with a traumatic vaginal delivery.

Investigations showed these injuries could have been inflicted by a third party, perhaps through smothering or shaking, but could not determine whether Baby S was already dead when she was placed into the commercial waste bin.

Chief Inspector Karl Nightingale, the senior officer assigned to the case from the offset. Picture: Mecha Morton
Chief Inspector Karl Nightingale, the senior officer assigned to the case from the offset. Picture: Mecha Morton

The inquest heard from Chief Inspector Karl Nightingale, the senior officer assigned to the case from the offset, who said despite visiting 800 premises' surrounding the collection points and checking CCTV in many, the police found no leads as to who may have left the newborn.

He told the court police remain 'open-minded' about the situation and said: "Because the conclusion is so open we must maintain that open mind also."

Mr Parsley confirmed the medical cause of death was traumatic brain injury, the cause of which is unascertained.

He recorded an open conclusion and thanked Chief Inspector Nightingale and his team for their work on the case, as well as Sackers recycling centre for their help with investigations as well as funeral costs for Baby S.

For more information on how we can report on inquests, click here.