November 26 2018

Family find mummified remains of baby brother they never knew existed at home of dead mother

'This is the most distressing case I have come across,' says coroner

Three siblings clearing the home of their dead mother discovered the mummified remains of a brother they never knew existed, an inquest has heard.

The man and two women found the corpse inside a small box pulled from a cupboard under the stairs of Carol Thompson’s home in Northallerton, Teeside, in February.

Officers launched an investigation after the family took the box to the nearest police station.

Detective sergeant Matthew Wilkinson told the inquest at Solberge Hall detectives from North Yorkshire police discovered “what appeared to be human, mummified infant remains wrapped in clothing” inside the 18in box.

“No one had any knowledge of a brother or the existence of another child to either parent,” he said, including Thompson’s ex-husband Melvin Thompson.

Assistant coroner John Broadbridge described the case the “most distressing” he had dealt with in 25 years.

Despite the investigation, officers failed to establish the circumstances surrounding the death, or why the remains were at the property on Dexta Way.

DNA testing carried out on the body showed the baby was the offspring of Carol and Melvin Thompson, while the clothing the body was wrapped in was dated to the late 1950s or early 1960s.

Letters within the box where the remains were found were dated from August 1968.

Mr Thompson told police he “couldn’t account for a pregnancy” and had “no knowledge” of the box’s existence.

Mr Broadbridge said it was not clear if the baby, which was at full-term, died before or after birth, but that the bones showed no injuries.

The Thompsons married in 1968, the inquest was told, before divorce proceedings begun in 1996. Carol moved to Dexta Way in 2004 before dying in January this year.

All three of Carol’s surviving children were born after 1968.

“In my 25 years of working as a coroner, this is the most distressing case I have come across,” said Mr Broadbridge.

"The little boy, we do not know, despite everyone’s efforts.

“It is tragic, utterly tragic and it is dreadfully sad your mother had to carry out a secret like that.”

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