Major breakthrough in case of newborn baby found strangled and dumped in Northampton in 1982

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Police have arrested a woman on suspicion of the murder of a baby found strangled in Northampton more than 40 years ago.

The ‘fallen sparrow’ case saw the body of a newborn baby abandoned and wrapped in a carrier bag near Northampton train station on May 18, 1982.

Despite a high-profile police investigation and widespread appeals, nobody was ever charged with her murder.

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Five years ago the tot, named only as the ‘fallen sparrow’ was given a headstone 38 years after her death.

The baby girl was given a headstone in Towcester Road cemetery five years ago. Image: National WorldThe baby girl was given a headstone in Towcester Road cemetery five years ago. Image: National World
The baby girl was given a headstone in Towcester Road cemetery five years ago. Image: National World

Tonight, Northamptonshire Police announce they have arrested a woman in connection with the case

The 57-year-old, who was arrested on suspicion of murder in Northampton on Tuesday morning (June 11), was taken to a location in the county for questioning by detectives. She would have been just a schoolgirl at the time of the murder.

The initial inquiry was closed in 1993.

But new evidence surfaced in 2023 following a cold case review by Northamptonshire Police, leading to this week’s arrest.

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The suspect was this afternoon (June 13) released on bail pending further inquiries.

Detective Chief Inspector Johnny Campbell, from the Major Crime Team of the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU), said: “This has been an extremely complex investigation into events that happened more than four decades ago and a great deal of work has gone in to getting us to this point.

“Dozens of officers from both Northamptonshire Police and our colleagues in the region, have been involved in the operation over the past 48 hours or more and I would like to thank all of them for their work.

“This inquiry remains live and ongoing and, as such, Northamptonshire Police will be making no further comment at this time.”