Long Lost Family Special: Born Without Trace Jamie Duffy report

‘I felt unloved and discarded’: Man, 30, who was left in a carrier bag outside a hospital as a newborn reveals his life-long quest to discover the truth behind his abandonment on Long Lost Families

  • Jamie Duffy, 30, of Hampshire, was left outside Portsmouth hospital as newborn
  • He appears on ITV’s Long Lost Family Special: Born Without Trace next week
  • Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell help three foundlings trace their families

The moving moment a man is told that both his birth parents have been found, thirty years after he was abandoned on the steps of a hospital, is revealed in an emotional documentary tracing the families of abandoned children. 

Jamie Duffy, 30, from Hampshire, hit headlines when he was left outside a Portsmouth hospital just hours after his birth in 1988, and appears on ITV’s Long Lost Family Special: Born Without Trace next week.

The fascinating new documentary, presented by Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell, helps foundlings- those abandoned at birth- who are desperate to find their birth families.

Tuesday’s special episode looks at Jamie’s history, as well as that of Karen Waterton, a woman left at five days old in a cardboard box in Manchester and Alley Lofthouse, a woman abandoned on a doorstep in Scotland.

Jamie Duffy, 30, from Hampshire, hit headlines when he was left outside a Portsmouth hospital just hours after his birth in 1988, and appears on ITV’s Long Lost Family Special: Born Without Trace next week

In a preview of the show an emotional Jamie is seen tearing up as he stares at the Portsmouth hospital from the car park, reflecting on his rough start in life.

‘Somewhere in this facility, my birth mother felt she had no choice but to abandon me’, he says. 

Thirty years ago newborn Jamie was wrapped in a towel, placed in a carrier bag and left in the grounds of a hospital in Portsmouth. 


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Appeals to find his mother at the time led to a woman calling a police hotline in tears, to say that she couldn’t look after him. A copy of the recording is all that Jamie has from the person he believes to be his mum.

Jamie was adopted just two months after being found, and at 14 his parents told him the truth about his start in life. But his birth mother was never found. 

In a preview of the show an emotional Jamie is seen tearing up as he stares at the Portsmouth hospital from the car park, reflecting on his rough start in life

Thirty years ago newborn Jamie was wrapped in a towel, placed in a carrier bag and left in the grounds of a hospital in Portsmouth

Describing the moment he was told about his adoption, Jamie says: ‘I recall having a conversation with my mum and it got a bit emotional because I just couldn’t grasp as to why someone would abandon a child at such a young age.

‘Having been abandoned you feel that you’re not wanted, unloved, sort of discarded. There must be very strong circumstances to leave me. I want to know why it happened.’

Jamie does a DNA test, with a new glimmer of hope of finding his blood relatives. 

And in a nerve-wracking scene Nicky contacts him as the team have successfully traced one of the girls who found him in the grounds of the hospital and is desperate to meet him. 

Marie was just 11 years old when she found Jamie as a baby and they have a very emotional reunion. Marie takes Jamie back to the hospital to show him the exact spot where she found him.

The programme tracks down Marie, who was just 11 years old when she found Jamie as a baby and they have a very emotional reunion. Marie takes Jamie back to the hospital to show him the exact spot where she found him

Marie says: ‘We’d been out playing and it was on our way back home, we heard a small noise and the bag was moving. We thought it was kittens and pulled the front part of the carrier bag back and you were just looking up at us.’

Meanwhile, Jamie’s DNA is analysed by online DNA databases, which compare his DNA with millions of others who have already tested and can come up with matches with people who are biologically related. 

Leading DNA detective Julia Bell and renowned specialist in tracing missing family, Ariel Bruce, work together to try and identify his family members. Incredibly, they find a match for a close relative and are then able to investigate how they were related.

In an exciting breakthrough, Ariel explains to Davina: ‘We made contact with various people within the wider family group and asked whether they would consider undertaking tests for us. And several people did. 

‘We then worked out who Jamie’s mother was. She had been living in the right area at the right time.’

And further detective work leads them to discover who his father is and make contact. It’s early days and will take time to resolve. Jamie is told the news away from the camera, before being visited at home by Davina.

Following the life-changing news that both his birth mother and father have been traced, Jamie explains: ‘Everything is still sinking in really slowly. I went into this hoping that I’d find my mum, not expecting to find my mum and my dad- it’s just mind-blowing and amazing. 

‘We don’t know how well she’s coped with it…I want to be able to forgive her and tell her that it’s alright. I’ve turned out to have a wonderful family of my own and the life that I have had has been wonderful.’

Long Lost Family Special: Born Without Trace is on ITV on Tuesday 25 February 2019 at 9pm. 

ITV’s: Long Lost Family Special: Born Without Trace next week, with Campbell, left, and Davina McCall, right, features foundlings – people who were abandoned as children – as they try and track down their biological families

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