THE priest who discovered a newborn baby boy in a plastic “Bag for life” outside his vicarage last week has led prayers for the child, who died shortly after being found.
The Priest-in-Charge at St Peter’s, Bramley, in Leeds, the Revd Paul Crabb, was leaving home for his morning service at about 9.15 on Wednesday of last week when he saw a Tesco shopping-carrier bearing the slogan “It’s what’s inside that counts.” He found the baby, with the placenta still attached, wrapped in a towel and shirt, but already cold to the touch.
Paramedics called by Mr Crabb tried to revive the child, who has been named “Peter” on social media, but doctors at Leeds General Infirmary were unable to save him. An initial post-mortem examination was unable to determine the cause of death.
Mr Crabb declined to discuss the case, as it was still the subject of an investigation by the police, who are trying to trace the mother. Last Friday, however, as he led prayers at the place where he found the bag, he said: “We’re here to be together, to share our sadness, and to express our love for a little boy we never knew, yet whose death has changed our lives.
”We gather to hold in our hearts his mother, hoping and praying that she will find the help that she needs. We come to be together with God, whose love for that precious child is even greater than our own, and whose care for him and his mother will never cease.”
The site filled quickly with flowers and cuddly toys. One message said: “Now you have your wings. Fly high into the arms of the Lord. God bless you little angel.”
An appeal launched at the weekend to raise £1500 for a headstone passed its target within three days. Its organiser, Haley Hodgson, wrote on the JustGiving page: “The circumstances surrounding his birth, who gave birth to him, where and how he was born, are unknown.
”What we do know to be true and all share is the sadness, grief and loss of this beautiful baby boy who was born in to this world in these horrendous circumstances before he passed away. This baby deserves a beautiful, named headstone.” In a press conference about the infant’s death, Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Bryar, of West Yorkshire Police, said that her priority was finding the mother. “We are sure that she’ll be in need of medical attention,” she said. “She will certainly need some support.
”She has gone through a traumatic ordeal. The death of this baby boy in these circumstances is a real human tragedy, and we need to establish exactly how this situation has come about.
”The last thing we need is for that tragedy to be compounded by the ongoing risks to the mother, which is why we urgently need to find her.
”Although we can’t rule out the mother having successfully concealed this pregnancy from everyone she knows, we think there will be someone out there who may know who she is.”