The girl was brought into the ward of the Willington Quay Maternity Hospital at four o’clock that morning; her waters had broken and she was in a terrible state. If the baby was not delivered quickly enough there was strong chance that both mother and child would be lost. Doctor Charles Hindmarch got into his car after receiving a call from the ward sister Hannah Thewlis. At four forty five the girl was wheeled into surgery. Toxaemia had started to set in and there was frantic activity around the theatre with nurses running to clear away the blood that had dripped onto the floor.
After performing an emergency caesarean; they had stabilised the bleeding but the young girl was very weak. They had established that her name was Heather Reid and that she had not long turned sixteen years of age. She had run away from her home on West Percy Road in North Shields and was found in Howdon. She was terrified that her parents would find out about her pregnancy being under age and had practically starved herself to death in order to hide the fact that she was with child. She had blamed the weight gain on over eating as she was rather a large girl to begin with and her mother hadn’t really noticed. She just thought Heather was taking comfort in the food she was eating.
Little be known to both her parents Heather was being sick in the outside toilet.
She carried on working in John Woodger’s kipper house on North Shields Fish Quay right up to last week of her pregnancy. All the other girls knew that she was in trouble but could only advise her on what to do about it. She had taken the Beecham’s powders and tried drinking gin and sitting in a hot bath but nothing she had tried had worked. When Heather’s parents had discovered their daughter’s predicament they were astounded. Her father was furious and swore to kill the man who had done this to his daughter and brought shame to his family. Police sergeant Billy Giles knew Brian Reid from Ralph Gardner School. He was a hard working man who had served his time as a welder in Smiths Dock Ship Repair Yard. The thirty eight year old was a proud no nonsense sort of man who prided himself in his work.
“Come on now Brian stop getting yourself irate here; let’s go and see how the bairn is doing right.’
“Aye,’ you’re right Bill sorry.’
“Alice put you coat on love Bill here is going to drop us off at the hospital.’