Weymouth baby death - DNA breakthrough
Detectives reviewing the unsolved case of a new-born baby found dead on Weymouth beach 27 years ago have made a DNA breakthrough – and are again appealing for the parents of the dead girl to come forward in confidence.
Officers are also asking for a man who made contact during August 2009 – with what detectives describe as "information of interest" – to contact the States of Jersey Police or Dorset Police in the strictest confidence.
Forensic scientists working for Dorset Police have now developed a full genetic profile of the new-born baby and an almost complete profile of a second person who is most likely to be the mother.
Dorset Police crime review officer Phil James – a former Detective Superintendent with the force – is renewing his appeal for the parents to come forward and for anyone with information to come forward and speak to Dorset Police in confidence.
The Head of CID at the States of Jersey Police, Chris Beechey, said: "‘Following the visit of Dorset Police to Jersey earlier this year, a member of the public got in contact with some information which may be relevant to the case.
"We would specifically ask this member of the public to come forward again, and contact either CID in Jersey, or the Dorset Police directly," he explained.
Investigating the cold case since March of this year, Phil James explained: "This is a significant development in the case – the forensic examinations are complete and the results are very positive.
"The almost complete DNA profile of a second person – who is most likely to be the mother – is sufficient for comparison and a search of the national DND database has revealed that there is no match to the nearly four million people on the database.
"Dorset Police has received a number of calls from the public about this ‘cold case’ and this significant advance in the investigation will allow comparison of someone’s DNA to the DNA profile.
"That forensic ability will enable us to identify people but also eliminate people from the investigation.
"I’m appealing for the baby’s parents to come forward in confidence and contact the police. They may be keen to bring closure to this very sad case and may wish to do this with some dignity, rather than live in fear of receiving that unexpected call.
"Anyone with information as to the whereabouts of the baby’s parents should also call Dorset Police in confidence or the Crimestoppers line anonymously.
"I am also appealing to the man who provided information in August of this year to contact Jersey police, or myself, in the strictest confidence as he had information that is of interest to this enquiry," explained Mr James.
Referred to by the media at the time as the ‘Baby on the Beach’ case, the little girl’s body was found on the beach near to Weymouth’s pier bandstand by three men as they were metal detecting on 15 October, 1981.
The baby’s body was in a white carrier bag which, in turn, was in a larger canvas bag found just above the high waterline of the beach. The carrier bag had ‘Bath Street Wine Cellar, Quality Wine Merchant, Jersey CI’ printed on the side.
Despite extensive enquiries at the time, detectives were unable to establish how the carrier bag came to be on Weymouth beach but one theory was that it may have been thrown from the ferry between Weymouth and Jersey in the Channel Islands.
Phil James explained: "While being sympathetic to the potential circumstances of this case – and appreciating the delicate nature of this inquiry – Dorset Police has a duty to bring this unsolved historic case to a conclusion and is committed to doing so."
Witnesses and anyone with information should contact Dorset Police in confidence on 01202 222 222, States of Jersey Police CID on 01534 612200 or the free and anonymous Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111 where mobile phone tariffs may apply.