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Newborn Baby Found In London Has Brother And Sister Also Abandoned

A newborn baby girl found in a park in east London earlier this year has an older brother and sister who were also abandoned in similar separate earlier incidents, it can now be reported.

The girl was named Elsa by hospital staff after she was found in a shopping bag wrapped in a towel in the Greenway park in Newham on a night in January when temperatures dropped to -5C.

DNA tests revealed she has the same parents as a girl, temporarily named Roman after being found next to a bench in a park near Roman Road, Newham, in January 2019. Like Elsa, she was found by a dog-walker in freezing temperatures wrapped in a towel inside a shopping bag.

Elsa and Roman also have an older brother, who was provisionally named Harry after he was found wrapped in a blanket in another east London park in Plaistow in September 2017.

The two older children have since been adopted and given different names.

The parents of all three children have yet to be identified, as the Metropolitan police reiterated a call for anyone with information to come forward. In 2017, the police released footage of Harry as a three-month-old baby.

Metropolitan police released footage of Harry as a baby in 2017 – videoOn Monday, a judge in a family court ruled that the relationship between the siblings could be reported because of the public interest of the case, due to the rarity of babies being abandoned.

In the ruling, which came after an appeal by the BBC and PA Media, Carol Atkinson, the most senior judge at east London family court, said: “Abandonment of a baby in this country is a very, very unusual event.”

She acknowledged there would be “enormous interest” in the sibling relationship between the three children.

The BBC and PA argued that reporting the sibling links would help the police find the parents of the three children.

Elsa’s brother, who was named Harry after he was found. Photograph: Metropolitan policeBaby Elsa was discovered by a dog-walker on 18 January. It is believed she was less than an hour old when she was found with her umbilical cord still attached. Hospital staff gave her the name Elsa in reference to a character in the film Frozen, due to the sub-zero temperatures in which she was found.

At the time the Metropolitan police said it was highly likely that Elsa was born after a concealed pregnancy.

A woman was spotted entering the Greenway from the High Street South entrance at about 8.45pm on the night of 18 January, about half an hour before the baby was found.

On Tuesday, people in the area spoke of their sadness and urged the baby’s mother to come forward. Nasreen, 35, who passed the scene shortly after Elsa was found, said: “As I was going past the Greenway I saw quite a few police officers. Once I found out what happened, it was very shocking.

“There’s people around here she [the mother] can speak to. This community is so big and everyone’s there for each other. She can come and speak to us.”

Elsa remains in foster care. In terms of health, she was described as well, the court heard.

It was also told there were plans for the siblings to have contact as they grew up. The public reporting of the sibling links was not supported by the public bodies that advise courts about children’s best interests.

East London family court is part of a pilot study that has partly lifted automatic restrictions on the reporting of family proceedings.

MapDI Jamie Humm, from the north-east command unit, which covers Newham, said: “We understand the significant public interest that will come following the lifting of restrictions that allow this information to be reported. It is significant news and our work has focused on trying to locate the mother and provide support to her.

“We have worked 24/7 in each of these three cases to identify the parents, so far without success.

“We have also had to be mindful of the sensitivities that exist now all of the children are being cared for. Their welfare, including their privacy, is paramount.

“We continue to investigate, and will consider the next steps in our investigation.”

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show there were only 12 abandoned babies recorded in England and Wales between 2005 and 2014.

In a note about the data, the ONS said: “Few, if any, details are known about abandoned children, and they are not included in birth statistics. However, since 1977, these infants have been included in the abandoned children register maintained at the General Register Office in Southport.”

But a study published by University College London in 2009 found that official figures understated the problem, and estimated that 16 babies were abandoned each year in the UK.

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