A newborn baby found dead in the middle of a street was left abandoned under a streetlamp covered by a blanket, it emerged on Sunday as residents expressed their devastation over the child's death.
The grim discovery was made by residents in Portsmouth, Hants, in the early hours of Saturday. Police are investigating and have urged the mother to come forward amid concerns for her welfare.
Neighbours in Old Commercial Road, near the Charles Dickens' Museum, described how they were heartbroken by seeing the child's body before a forensic tent was put up by police.
Beauty therapist, Anastasia Jamieson, 43, told how she felt guilty for not looking out of her window sooner after she saw the baby lying under a streetlamp covered with a blanket.
She said: "It's unbelievable. It's been very difficult. I'm a mum of four, it's been very hard for me.
"Nowadays we have hospitals, we have help. We have a lot of organisations and charities if somebody is in trouble - you can call confidentially and ask for help.
"So we are just shocked it's happened. I saw the baby. I looked out the window, I couldn't sleep.
"No one knows where the mother is. We feel a bit guilty because if we had looked through the window sooner, maybe the baby would have been alive and we could have done something."
Grandmother-of-five Sharon James said she had initially presumed there had been a knife attack on the street before finding out the infant's body had been found.
The 57-year-old said: "We thought it was a stabbing or something like that.
"No one leaves a baby in the middle of the road. It just seems a lot worse because it was a defenceless baby. "
When we heard, we automatically thought of our own children and grandchildren."
One woman, who did not wish to be named, said she laid flowers and a teddy bear at the scene once the police cordon was lifted.
Breaking down in tears on her doorstep, she said: "I took the daffodils and teddy there, just to make it more human, rather than a crime scene.
"I just wanted to make sure people realised there was a baby there - it was the place where a baby had been left. I hope the mother realises she would not be in trouble, she needs help."
Police on Sunday deployed extra patrols to the street where they carried out house-to-house enquiries as part of their investigation.
DCI Simon Baker said: “I want to reiterate that our priority right now remains ensuring the welfare of the mother.
“This must be an extremely distressing time for her, and it is vitally important that she seeks medical assistance.
“I want to urge her to make contact with a medical professional as soon as possible. Whether that be a GP, by attending a hospital or walk-in centre, or speaking to any other healthcare workers.
“If you have concerns for someone you know or suspect has been recently heavily pregnant or given birth, or are worried for the whereabouts of a recently born child, please contact us."
Police said CCTV footage showed five people had walked through Old Commerical Road from 5am onwards on Saturday and appealed directly for them to come forward.