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Skeleton of infant wrapped in 1935 newspaper found in house

Police at the building in Portstewart where the baby's remains were found
Police at the building in Portstewart where the baby's remains were found

By Lisa Smyth

The skeleton of a baby wrapped in newspaper from the 1930s has been found in a derelict building in Portstewart.

The grim discovery was made by construction workers carrying out renovation work to a property on the Promenade yesterday afternoon.

Police were called to the scene where it is understood preliminary investigations were carried out to establish whether the remains were human.

The body remained at the scene last night. It is believed a post- mortem will not be possible but a pathologist is expected to examine the remains in order to establish the sex and age of the baby.

A PSNI spokesman said: “An investigation has been launched following the discovery of what appear to be human remains in the Portstewart area. They were discovered at about noon and will be removed for examination.”

The house, with a disused diner on the ground floor and flats on the upper floors, remained cordoned off last night.

Mystery surrounded the find last night — while the newspaper in which the body was wrapped was dated from 1935, the baby could have died at any time during subsequent years.

It is hoped a pathologist examination will help determine a possible cause and approximate date of death.

SDLP MLA John Dallat last night said he was saddened to hear about the discovery of the remains which he said represented a “terrible tragedy”.

He said: “This poor baby could have died as far back as the 1930s and although we don’t know the circumstances which led to its death it is certainly a terrible tragedy whatever happened. It could have been that it was born in an era where the mother could not reveal that she had a child without the help and support she required, but no matter what, the mother of this baby will have no doubt spent the rest of her life haunted by what happened.

“I would imagine it will be almost impossible to establish who the parents of this child were but I hope that now it has been found it will be given the proper Christian burial it has been denied all these years.”

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