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Friday, 20 January 2012

The story behind the baby stolen from the RUH.


Thursday February 24th 1994 started the way of many on a local paper; I went to the Bath Royal United Hospital to shoot a feature on disposable nappies.
As I was leaving the maternity unit a police officer arrived, and before I got to my car two police cars arrived.
I called the office to see if they could check what was going on, and decided to stay while they checked.
More police turned up and started searching the hospital grounds, and it soon became clear that someone had stolen a baby.
After a couple of hours the hospital set up a press centre and photographers started arriving from agencies and national newspapers.
In the early evening the police announced the baby had been found, a reporter, TV crew and one photographer could photograph the parents Andrew and Louise Waylen with baby Charlie.
Press association photographer Barry Batchelor said “you’ve been here from the start you do it.
When I came out of the hospital, we dashed back to the office and I processed the film.
Our picture editor Kevin Clifford sat and trimmed the film down into lengths of three frames and handed them to the different newspaper wire units set up in the newsroom.
Next day my picture made every paper from the Sun to the Times, while we were doing it Barry’s pager went off telling him that police had started digging in a garden in Cromwell street in Gloucester,
He said “the baby is more important at the moment, I'll do it tomorrow”.
Little did we know it was the start of the Fred West inquiry and how many bodies would be in that garden?
A final strange twist was that a few years after I went to photograph the woman that stole the baby who was appealing for help for others like her.

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