Newborn baby found dumped in woodland was born on Christmas Day

The body of the baby girl – named Pearl by police – was discovered months later by a dog walker in Heywood, Greater Manchester

A tragic baby girl who was found dead in a woodland area was born on Christmas Day, an inquest has found.

The newborn – named Pearl by police – was discovered at the beauty spot by a dog walker in Heywood, Greater Manchester in the early hours of April 4, 2018.

An inquest at Heywood Coroner Court found that Pearl was delivered on December 25, 2017 and was 32-40 weeks and a viable pregnancy.

Her delivery was concealed and she was stored in an unknown place until around 4 April 2018 when she was found in Bluebell Woods, a coroner ruled.

It could not be determined whether baby Pearl was alive at the time of her delivery.

Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Inspector Wesley Knights of GMP’s Major Incident Team, said: “Following today’s inquest into the death of the baby girl we have come to know as Pearl, I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone that assisted with our investigation.

“Today marks the end of our investigation, which was described as remarkable and thorough by Her Majesty’s Senior Coroner.

“I am extremely proud of my dedicated investigation team who were committed to finding out how Pearl sadly came to be found in Heywood woodland.

I would like to thank everyone for their support. Baby Pearl will never be forgotten.”

A heartbreaking picture captured the moment officers carried a moses basket as they went to collect her tiny body.

A murder investigation was launched and specialist officers spent several days trawling the wooded area, close to the River Roch, for evidence and clues that would help them understand how Pearl had died.

Three months later, a man and woman – believed to be Pearl’s parents – were arrested on suspicion of murder , concealing a birth and preventing a lawful burial.

They have been released with no further action taken and the investigation has been closed.

Officers from Greater Manchester Police’s major incident team spent more than six months carrying out extensive enquiries to try and determine exactly what happened to Pearl.

Police passed a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service.

However, prosecutors have now taken the independent decision to take no further action.

Investigators previously said that Pearl had a birth defect – two ribs missing.

A post-mortem examination by a forensic pathologist and paediatric pathologist revealed that she had a congenital defect, which is why they were missing.