Ex-cop ‘knows identity’ of Unknown Bairn found on banks of Tay

Bob Beveridge

A former detective who investigated the mystery of the “Unknown Bairn” in Tayport 47 years ago believes the child was “definitely” part of the Travelling community.

Retired policeman Bob Beveridge, who worked with Fife CID at the time, said he was “quite sure” he knew the identity of the child found on the banks of the Tay.

However, he believed it would be a “shame” for that identity to ever be made public and he would not disclose it.

Tayport man Ian Robertson found the body of the boy, thought to be aged between three and four, while walking his dog on the beach in 1971.

Despite a nationwide appeal, the boy was never identified.

In the absence of a family, people from across the UK sent money to erect a gravestone in his memory, which now stands in Tayport Cemetery.

Although the official post-mortem examination ruled the death was “apparently due to drowning”, Mr Beveridge, of Falkland, said the pathologist found the boy had died of natural causes.

“We had arrested two Travelling people who were suspected of being the parents of the child,” said Bob, now 75.

“Today, forensic evidence — DNA — would be possible but at that time it fell short of evidence and the parents will be long gone now.”