Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Tuebrook Baby Deaths

In 1877 a Tuebrook widow was arrested on suspicion of infanticide after it was feared she had killed up to six newborn babies.

Elizabeth Kilbride, a former Penrith school mistress, came to live in Sutton Street in June 1876 and took lodgings there with her two sons. The following February a box that she had left in an inn in Penrith was opened due to a foul smell coming from it, and the decomposed remains of two babies were found inside.

Kilbride was arrested and taken to Old Swan police station to await being taken to Cumbria, only for her son to force open a box in her room and find the remains of three other babies, one of which had been there for up to ten years. Letters found by police seemed to indicate that Kilbride had an accomplice in the matter, the child's father who appeared to be a married businessman. Police in Cumbria then found the body of a sixth baby buried in the garden of a house where Kilbride had once lived. The three babies found in Sutton Street were buried in the same coffin in Anfield cemetery.

Medical examinations failed to show that any of the babies had been alive when they were born, meaning Kilbride was not charged with murder. She pleaded guilty to three counts of Concealment of Birth and was sentenced to 27 months hard labour.

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