Sickening Unsolved Death Of Baby Whose Inquest Report Was Too Shocking To Publish

Sickening Unsolved Death Of Baby Whose Inquest Report Was Too Shocking To Publish
Terence McNamara's grave in Linthorpe Cemetery, 80 years after his horrific death (Image: Evening Gazette)

Eight decades have passed since the horrific death of a three-month baby after a sickening sex assault - and the search to find out who was responsible goes on.

Mum Irene McNamara never saw justice following the attack on her youngest son Terence, who she left in the care of "a poor relative" on November 12, 1946.

The mum-of-three, who was widowed earlier that year, never saw him alive again after she left for work as a cleaner.

According to his death certificate, the tiny boy had suffered such a serious sexual assault his liver was ruptured and he died of shock and internal bleeding.

Today the infant's death would have made headline news and sent shockwaves around the globe, Teesside Live reports, and the perpetrator would have been looking at life behind bars.

But in 1948, all that marked the death of the much-loved 22-month-old was a notice in the paper.

Sickening Unsolved Death Of Baby Whose Inquest Report Was Too Shocking To Publish
Andrew McNamara, pictured at his uncle's grave in 2008, says the crime was 'brushed under the carpet'

It read: "On November 12, suddenly at number 46 Richmond Street, Middlesbrough, Terence, loving baby of Renee McNamara and the late Raymond McNamara."

In the past 80 years no one has ever been brought to justice for cutting short the little boy's life and devastating his family.

Renee understandably never recovered from losing her baby in such horrific circumstances and she died in the 1970s having not seen justice.

The case was never resurrected.

At the time an inquest was held and the coroner's report made for unpleasant reading and is too upsetting to show in full.

It is believed a police investigation was carried out but no one was ever charged.

Sickening Unsolved Death Of Baby Whose Inquest Report Was Too Shocking To Publish
Details of baby Terence's death are still too distressing to publish

Terence's nephew Andrew McNamara, 52, told Teesside Live how he has spent many hours searching public records in a bid to find out why such a repulsive crime was "effectively brushed under the carpet".

"Terence had been left in the care of what was described as "a poor relative" who had a boyfriend who was doing the interfering," said Mr McNamara.

"His mother was a poor Catholic widow living in Middlesbrough just after the war so she had left Terence with this pair while she went to work."

Mr McNamara said his family told him the boyfriend was questioned but police were told Terence had suffered his injuries after being kicked by a horse.

Sickening Unsolved Death Of Baby Whose Inquest Report Was Too Shocking To Publish
The child was just three months old when he died

He said: "Back in 1948 the corner who did the post mortem and the police clearly knew what had happened to Terence.

"How on earth did that effectively get brushed under the carpet?"

Mr McNamara said in 1955, a friend of Irene, who lived next to the couple who last saw Terence alive, said she overheard the girlfriend say: "If you ever leave me I will tell them all about what you did to that child."

"It beggars belief really, how or why no one was ever charged," he said.

"Irene told my dad the policeman had said 'Come back in 50 years time then we will have the technology to prove it'.

"Today it would have been an open and shut case."

Mr McNamara has spent hours trying to research the case using the Freedom of Information Act and searching public records but said a lot has gone missing or has not been forthcoming.

Sickening Unsolved Death Of Baby Whose Inquest Report Was Too Shocking To Publish
Just a small notice marked Terence's death in 1948

He looked into the boyfriend whom he believes killed his uncle. He said the Guisborough man, who was born in 1922, had a long criminal record and was still committing crime in the 1970s and 1980s.

He died in 2006.

"He was a well-known criminal at that time who had been in and out of borstal [a type of youth detention centre] and continued his criminal life into adulthood," said Mr McNamara.

"He was still living with this woman in 1958 as they went to court for burgling a house in Middlesbrough."

An appeal in The Gazette in 2008 provided Mr McNamara with a little more information, he said.

A street in St Hilda's in the 1940s
A street in St Hilda's in the 1940s

He said: "I felt it was really important to get the story out.

"I try to put it at the back of my mind but when I do think about it, it's very upsetting.

"My dad and aunty were denied a brother and sister relationship with him.

"Both are still alive. When more information came in I asked if they wanted to run an appeal but they wanted to put it behind them because it was so distressing and hard for them."

Little Terence was buried in an unmarked grave in Linthorpe Cemetery.

In the early 2000s Middlesbrough Council marked all baby graves with small memorials and grave numbers, not long after after Terence's brother contacted them to locate the baby's burial plot.

Mr McNamara believes there may still be people with the answer which could finally bring his family the closure they deserve.

Cleveland Police has been contacted by Teesside Live about the case.