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3 newborn babies abandoned in London over 7 years are all related, court reveals

Florida firefighter adopts baby left in "Safe Haven Baby Box" at Ocala fire station.
Florida firefighter adopts baby left in "Safe Haven Baby Box" at Ocala fire station. 02:47

A newborn baby found dumped in London in freezing conditions earlier this year has two siblings who were also abandoned in previous years in similar circumstances, a court has been told.

The girl, named Baby Elsa by hospital staff, was found in January wrapped in a towel inside a shopping bag by a dog walker in east London who alerted emergency services.

DNA testing has since shown she has a brother and sister, known as Baby Harry and Baby Roman, who were discovered in the same area of the U.K. capital in 2017 and 2019. They had been wrapped in blankets, the BBC reported. One was also inside a bag.

"The child had a frosty forehead… (it was) snowing shortly afterwards," the man who discovered Roman told the BBC in 2019.

Baby Roman Metropolitan Police

The children's parents are yet to be identified, and London's Metropolitan Police is working to trace their identities.

"It is significant news and our work has focused on trying to locate the mother and provide support to her," Detective Inspector Jamie Humm said in a statement. "We have worked 24/7 in each of these three cases to identify the parents, so far without success."

A family court judge on Monday approved the release of details about the cases, lifting the normally strict reporting restrictions on minors and family matters in the interests of "openness of justice".

"There is a clear public interest in reporting this story," said judge Carol Atkinson, granting an application by the BBC and PA Media to report the link between the three siblings.

"The abandonment of a baby in this country is a very, very unusual event and there are years where there are no children abandoned, and because of that it is the story of the abandoning of a child that is of public interest."

Elsa was believed to be less than an hour old when she was found abandoned in the East Ham neighborhood on January 18.

Her sister, Baby Roman, was found in similar circumstances in a play area in Newham in late January 2019, as freezing temperatures and snow gripped the capital.

Meanwhile in September 2017, Baby Harry was found wrapped in a white blanket in Plaistow.

Harry and Roman — not their real names — have since been adopted, while Elsa's future care has not yet been finalized.

Very few babies are recorded as abandoned at birth in England and Wales, the BBC reported. The Office for National Statistics only published data until 2015, and that showed no babies were registered as abandoned for the previous three years, with just one logged as abandoned in 2011.

However academic researchers estimate the number higher, at about 16 per year, in analysis covering the period 1998-2005.

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