Secrets of the Concrete Block Baby; It Was a Surreal Nightmare. in a Dawn Raid, Police Arrest a Middleclass Couple over a Baby's Skeleton Found in a Concrete Block. They Are Branded Murderers and Endure Months of Agony. Then the Evidence That Finally Clears Them Reveals the Darkest of Family Secrets

Daily Mail (London), March 20, 2004 | Go to article overview

Secrets of the Concrete Block Baby; It Was a Surreal Nightmare. in a Dawn Raid, Police Arrest a Middleclass Couple over a Baby's Skeleton Found in a Concrete Block. They Are Branded Murderers and Endure Months of Agony. Then the Evidence That Finally Clears Them Reveals the Darkest of Family Secrets


Byline: LUCIE MORRIS

WHEN Anne and Philip Chadwick woke on the coldest morning of the year, their only concern was whether the snow that had swept in overnight would stop them getting their cars out of the drive.

Their two youngest children, Stephanie, 16, and Jonathan, 11, were still asleep in their bedrooms, having been allowed to stay up late, as a treat, to watch TV's I'm A Celebrity . . . Get Me Out Of Here!

Four minutes later, at 7.14am on January 28 to be precise, 25 officers, both uniformed police and plainclothes CID detectives, started hammering on the front and back doors.

Assuming it was the neighbours who needed their help, Philip, 42, ran downstairs. Moments later, as his terrified wife cowered behind him, the couple were told they were being arrested on suspicion of murdering a baby.

Collapsing to the floor, Anne, 41, began to shake with shock. The couple's two sleepy children hugged each other for comfort after hearing the entire brutal commotion from upstairs.

'I was crying hysterically - I just could not believe they thought I was involved in the murder of a child,' Anne recalls.

And so it was that this most ordinary of middleclass families was catapulted into the epicentre of a world-wide murder investigation - one that would not only shatter their once anonymous and normal lives for ever, but also unearth a dark and scandalous family secret, a secret they are still, today, struggling desperately to comprehend.

BABY Lara was the name given by police to the tiny body of a girl found in September 2002 entombed in a concrete block.

Her remains were discovered in a derelict garage in the tiny hamlet of Barepot, near Workington, deep in the Cumbrian countryside, when the new owner of the building decided to smash the block to get rid of it.

Examinations of the remains revealed the baby, believed to be between four and six months old when she died, had been severely neglected.

An autopsy revealed that the baby had been suffering from an abscess so advanced it had shattered her tiny jaw. The pain would have been considerable, doubtless causing her to cry constantly, yet seemingly no one had sought to get her medical help.

Today, the Mail can reveal that forensic examination also showed the baby had suffered a fatal blow to the head with a blunt instrument.

It was a shocking discovery and local police were determined to uncover the perpetrator.

Certain that the concrete was from Cumbria, appeals were made in newspapers and on posters for anyone with information to come forward.

Meanwhile, the most advanced American forensic and univercomputerrid of it.

sity-led genetic science was used to establish the date of Lara's birth, which was concluded to be in the early Nineties.

The search for 3,800 girls born in that time in the West Cumbria area began with more than 50 police forces from as far afield as Australia, Spain and Ireland involved in collecting DNA samples from former local residents.

And following this extensive world-wide hunt for the baby's identity, and the culprits of this most ghastly of crimes, the blame was now being placed firmly with the Chadwicks.

Childhood sweethearts who had been happily married for 25 years, the couple simply could not comprehend what was going on.

They were pillars of the local community. Anne, a housewife and part-time doctor's receptionist, was devoted to her husband, a well-paid manager at a local chemical company.

A quiet couple, popular with neighbours who enjoyed the barbecues they hosted every summer, they doted on their family. As well as the two younger children, their eldest son Andrew, 18, is studying science at Aberystwyth-University, a source of great pride to his parents.

And now here they were being marshalled into different rooms in their own house and being ordered to pack an overnight bag. …

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Secrets of the Concrete Block Baby; It Was a Surreal Nightmare. in a Dawn Raid, Police Arrest a Middleclass Couple over a Baby's Skeleton Found in a Concrete Block. They Are Branded Murderers and Endure Months of Agony. Then the Evidence That Finally Clears Them Reveals the Darkest of Family Secrets
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