Coroner investigates death of newborn baby found in plastic bag in Clyde North


By Emily Woods, CIP

A coroner is investigating how a newborn baby was found dead in a Coles shopping bag in southeast Melbourne.

The baby’s body was found in the backyard of a house in Clyde North in May last year, Melbourne Coroners Court heard on Thursday October 13.

Police have not brought charges for the incident. The child’s mother, who lived in a nearby house, denied being pregnant or having given birth to the baby.

Forensic examinations revealed the infant was 37 to 38 weeks gestation at the time of death, the court heard.

Coroner Katherine Lorenz said evidence before her showed the baby may have been born alive.

The mother took laxatives and other over-the-counter medications after she began experiencing abdominal pain in the days leading up to May 28, 2021, the attorney assisting the coroner said.

She spoke to a GP the next day, over the phone, but denied being pregnant.

She told police she started feeling increased abdominal pressure on May 30 and went to the bathroom where she lost blood.

Her partner gave her a plastic Coles shopping bag, where the woman claimed she placed soiled clothes and slippers and then took a bath. The woman said she washed some of the clothes in the shower and left the slippers inside the bag.

She said she felt weak and stretched out after her bath, before cleaning the toilet and throwing the Coles bag in a trash can. She couldn’t remember how she got rid of the bag or in which trash can she put it.

The woman’s roommate came home and urged her to go to the hospital. Upon arrival at the ER, she was found to be fully dilated and appeared to have given birth.

Medical staff said she was surprised and denied any knowledge of any pregnancy symptoms or having given birth to a baby. Police searched his Clyde North property later that evening but no babies were found.

Her neighbors found a Coles shopping bag in their garden with a dead baby inside, around 11:30 a.m. on May 31, 2021.

An investigation into the case is due to begin on June 5, 2023.

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