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Police release update one week after baby found in shopping bag in Beckton

The baby was found at the Greenway and High Street South junction (credit:Google Maps)

Police have released a description of a woman they’re keen to trace after a newborn baby girl was found in a shopping bag in Beckton a week ago.

A dog walker found the baby, temporarily named Elsa, wrapped in a towel in a re-usable shopping bag at the junction of Greenway and High Street South on Thursday, 18 January, just before 9.15pm.

She was believed to be less than an hour old.

Half an hour prior, a woman was seen entering the Greenway from the High Street South entrance, near where she was found.

Chief Superintendent Simon Crick, lead for policing in Newham, said: “A week on, I firstly want to thank media and the public who have shared our appeal up and down the country. I know how concerned everyone is for Baby Elsa, and her mother’s welfare.

“Since our first appeal we’ve had 17 reports from the public sharing information and I can assure people that every single one is assessed and progressed where that information is thought helpful.

Elsa is “safe and well” and has now left hospital. Police say Newham Council are continuing to ensure she’s well looked after and cared for.

Simon Crick continued: “My team are continuing their work. We’ve collected a considerable volume of CCTV footage. While we’re still examining it in detail, we have identified a woman we would like to speak to, and a witness who may have seen her.

“We believe the woman is black, was wearing a large dark coat with a light coloured scarf or hood around her neck and had a rucksack on her back.

“We believe this woman entered The Greenway from High Street South and left the Greenway heading in the direction Fabian Street.

“We’re also keen to identify a witness who we think could have seen this woman in the vicinity of The Greenway. He is believed to be male, wearing a dark coloured hooded coat with a backpack. The coat or backpack has a reflective strip on the rear of it. He exited The Greenway to the left at around 9.10pm.

“If you have information about these people – or you think I might be describing you – I urge you to please, please contact us immediately. It could turn out that you have nothing to do with it but, it’s still incredibly helpful for us to know so we can focus our efforts on other avenues instead.

“We’re drawing on support from across the Met and following a number of leads. We’ve carried out door-to-door enquiries, spoken to many local people, and visited local businesses. As always we welcome any new information, no matter how insignificant it might seem.

“We’ve also spoken to local hospitals, social workers and local charities. All of the information we have so far suggests it’s highly likely Baby Elsa was born after a concealed pregnancy and was not a service user of these agencies.

“I want to appeal directly again to Baby Elsa’s mother. Your daughter is safe and well, but we need make sure that you are too. You might need urgent medical care and support, and we can help you. Please call 999 and speak to us, or go to hospital.

“Lastly, I’d like to say that although comments online have been largely incredibly kind, supportive and understanding, there have been a small number of abusive and negative comments that are both unnecessary and unhelpful. All of us are looking at this from a position of privilege in that we have no idea what Baby Elsa’s mother is going through. Please consider what you post – and the possibility that she might even read it – and help us with our primary aim of identifying her to make sure that she’s OK.”

If you believe you know who the child’s mother is, please call 999 ref CAD 6876/18 Jan.

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