A newborn baby was found dead inside a shopping bag in southeast Melbourne in May last year. During a directions hearing on Thursday, the coroner investigating the incident said he was not sure how the child died. Police have not charged the mother, who lived a few houses away from where the body was found.
According to the court, the child was around 37 to 38 weeks old when it died. The mother reportedly took over-the-counter medication and laxatives after experiencing abdominal pain in the days before the body was found. Katherine Lorenz, the coroner, said the evidence indicated that the baby may have been born alive.
The woman denied she was pregnant during a conversation with a doctor the following day. She said she started experiencing severe abdominal pain on May 30.
She then went to the toilet and passed blood. Her partner then gave her a plastic shopping bag. She claimed to have placed her clothes and slippers inside the bag before taking a bath.
She said she washed her clothes inside the shower and placed them inside the bag. After taking a bath, she fell down and felt weak.
She then cleaned the area and discarded the shopping bag in a garbage bin. She could not recall how she got rid of the bag or where it was placed.
The woman’s housemate urged her to seek medical help. She was then admitted to the emergency department after she was found to be fully dilated.
The medical staff members said she was surprised by her condition and did not know that she was pregnant.
The police searched the woman’s home the following day. However, they did not find a baby. Her neighbours discovered a dead infant inside a shopping bag in their backyard on May 31.
An inquest regarding the incident has been scheduled to begin on June 5, 2023.