Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Baby Buried in Aintree

A servant suspected of suffocating her newborn baby and burying him in the garden was charged with murder, but instead convicted only of concealment of birth. 

On the morning of Thursday 7th September 1865 Mary Banks, the 45 year old wife of a farmer in Old Roan Lane (now Aintree Lane), noticed that her servant Eliza Molyneux no longer appeared to be pregnant. When Mrs Banks saw the state of seventeen year old Eliza's room she challenged her but she denied having given birth.

Mrs Banks sent for Dr Irvine to examine Eliza, but she then admitted having given birth to a stillborn male child which was now buried in the garden. The doctor searched the garden and found the body, while a police officer was called to apprehend Eliza.

A postmortem by Dr Irvine established that the baby had been alive when born and death was as a result of suffocation. This was believed to have been caused by a pebble that was found in the throat that could not have got their accidentally. The mouth was closed and the body had been lying face down, two feet underground. 

The inquest took place on 9th September at the Blue Anchor Inn and returned a verdict of wilful murder. The coroner, Dr Driffield, then committed Eliza to the assizes for trial.

On 14th December Eliza was indicted only for concealment of birth, the Grand jury having thrown out the bill for murder as they believed the evidence did not conclusively show that Eliza had killed the baby, or that it had ever been alive. After pleading guilty she was sentenced to twelve months imprisonment. 

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