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David Lomas cracks high-profile cold case of Wellington's 'newspaper baby', 57 years on

Newshub logo Newshub 4/05/2021 Matt Burrows
a person wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: Watch: Julie Corlett speaks about her abandonment by her mother 57 years ago. © Three Watch: Julie Corlett speaks about her abandonment by her mother 57 years ago.

A decades-old mystery about how a newborn baby came to be abandoned outside a house in central Wellington on New Year's Eve has been solved.

Wairarapa grandmother Julie Corlett, now 58, was just hours old when she was left on the path of a home in Newtown on December 31, 1962 with her umbilical cord still attached.

Naked but for the newspapers wrapped around her body, she was discovered by two young sisters who thought the crying they heard was puppies. Corlett was rushed to Wellington Hospital, where specialists determined she was healthy.

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Despite being a big story at the time - there was extensive media coverage, and Corlett was dubbed Wellington's 'newspaper baby' - no one was ever successful in identifying her mother, and a police investigation petered out.

After her abandonment Corlett was adopted, but only found out about the circumstances of her birth deep into her 20s.

But now, 57 years on from Corlett's birth, investigative journalist David Lomas has cracked the case and allowed her to reunite with two of her half-siblings - neither of which she knew existed before.

In an episode of David Lomas Investigates that aired on Three on Tuesday night, Corlett learned the mother who dumped her in central Wellington was Helen Christine Taylor - a woman who had been known to have abandoned at least one other child.

a hand holding a piece of paper © Provided by Newshub

Taylor had been married three times, had at least eight children, and was at one point wed to bigamist Francis Murison - a crime that saw him jailed for nine months.

While Taylor and the man she was married to at the time of Corlett's birth have now passed away, Lomas was able to identify who they were through DNA analysis, birth records and marriage certificates.

Through his investigation he was also able to track down two of Corlett's half-sisters - one of whom lives in Auckland and the other in South Africa - who she got to meet for the first time.

Corlett says the experience of learning about her birth and meeting her family was "absolutely amazing" and has made her feel more complete.

a girl standing in a field © Provided by Newshub

"I now have a beginning, I'm living the middle, and the end will come whenever the end comes," she told the programme.

"This whole journey, I didn't think it would turn out the way it has.

"To find out I've got eight brothers and sisters - that's a big family - they're my blood. I've added them on Facebook and one day I hope to get to meet the rest of them."

Watch the whole David Lomas Investigates episode on ThreeNow.

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