Not possible to confirm how Baby S suffered head injury, inquest hears

Funeral of Baby S in Ipswich Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

A funeral was held for Baby S in February - Credit: Charlotte Bond

A newborn baby girl found at a recycling centre in Needham Market died from a brain injury but experts were not able to confirm how the trauma took place, an inquest has heard. 

The infant, known as Baby S, was found on a conveyor belt at Sackers Recycling Centre on May 14, 2020, and was around 24 hours old at the time of her death. 

She was born alive at full-term, with no evidence of underlying disease, and suffered multiple injuries - the majority of which occurred from going through the waste process, the inquest heard. 

However, some injuries happened prior to her death but pathologist Dr Virginia Fitzpatrick-Swallow was not able to definitively conclude how those injuries took place, Suffolk Coroner's Court heard. 

An inquest into the death of Baby S is expected to start today

An inquest heard Baby S died from a brain injury - Credit: Archant

It is possible those injuries occurred as a result of a traumatic birth or were inflicted by a third party, such as through shaking or smothering, the inquest heard. 

Baby S is thought to have been inside one of two waste collection vehicles which picked up commercial waste throughout the day from 52 different locations.

The waste belonged to businesses and not private homes.

Many of these were in and around the Ipswich area, with some collections being made along the general route from Sackers in Needham Market.

Funeral of Baby S in Ipswich Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

DI Karl Nightingale spoke following the funeral service of Baby S in Ipswich - Credit: Charlotte Bond

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Detective Inspector Karl Nightingale, senior investigating officer on the case, told the inquest it was not possible to say whether Baby S was alive or not when she was placed in the bin. 

He said: "She could have been placed into the bin while she was alive, however, her death is not attributed to going through the waste processing. 

"It's possible she could have been placed into the bin alive and died whilst in the bin but actually there's a number of injuries, the brain injury and some injuries to her neck and face which were certainly sustained prior to her death." 

Police are keeping an "open mind" as to how Baby S, who is believed to be from a black or mixed ethnicity background, sustained her injuries, DI Nightingale added.  

Police are renewing their appeal for help after a newborn baby was discovered at a Needham Market re

Police are renewing their appeal for help after a newborn baby was discovered at a Needham Market recycling centre Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

A comprehensive search was undertaken at the recycling centre, during which a number of items were taken away.

But forensic analysis of the items did not provide any further answers in the search for the baby girl’s parents.

Baby S was found during the first lockdown in the country, at a time when her mother may have been in contact with fewer people than normal, but her pregnancy and giving birth may have been apparent and people with information have been encouraged to share that with the police.

The site was closed while investigations were carried out Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The site was closed while investigations were carried out Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

A funeral was held for Baby S on February 17 at Millennium Cemetery in Tuddenham Road, Ipswich.

On Tuesday, Nigel Parsley, senior coroner for Suffolk, recorded the cause of death as an traumatic brain injury, with the cause unascertained. 

He said: "Exactly when, or how, this injury occurred could not be ascertained on the available evidence."

Mr Parsley recorded an open conclusion as it was not possible to say how Baby S received the injuries that led to her death. 

The senior coroner ended the inquest by praising Sackers Recycling Centre for the company's assistance with the police investigation.