IT will forever remain a mystery.

Who was the infant and had she been murdered? The only medical certainty was that she had been born alive.

Her corpse was found by labourer Samuel Clinch who on his way to work in Shirley Warren, Southampton, by chance saw a bundle lying about seven yards from the road.

"It was hanging in some bushes as though it had been thrown there," he recollected.

He instinctively went over to investigate and caught hold of a blood stained shirt sleeve. While he stood guard, fellow labourer George Churcher went for the police.

The two men then stood by Pc James Andrews who opening the bundle was shocked to find it contained the body of a newly born girl.

The officer rolled it up and took it to the Blacksmiths Arms to await the arrival of doctor John Baker.

The bundle sewed tight with common black thread consisted of two wrappers, the outer one being part of an old calico shirt while the inner consisted of a piece of old blanket.

Frustrating for the police, neither bore an identification mark.

The surgeon took the body away for forensic examination, delivering his findings the following day, March 28, 1846, at an inquest conducted by J H Todd, the county coroner, at the pub.

Baker told the hearing the body was slightly decomposed which indicated she had been dead for about eight to ten days.

"It was full grown and perfect and was a very fine child. There was no wound or mark of violence on the body, except a great pressure occasioned having it been so tightly sewn up in the bundle. I examined the lungs, from the appearance of which I have no doubt the child had breathed as they were thoroughly filled with air and not at all decomposed.

"But I cannot say how long the child lived, nor could I discover the cause of death. My suspicion is that she died from suffocation."

Jurors returned a verdict the baby had been found dead but there was no evidence to reveal who the mother was and how her baby came by way of death.