Date: 12 Sep 1907
Emily Dimmock had her throat cut whilst she was in her bed.
The case was known as the Camden Town murder.
A man who had been seen with her on a number of occssions over the previous 18 months was tried for her murder but was acquitted.
Emily Dimmock was also known as Mrs Shaw. She originally came from Hitchen and had gone to Luton where she had worked in a hat factory. The past few years she had travelled about the country and lived at several addresses in London and Manchester. She was once employed as a housemaid with a family in Finchley and was known as a merry, good natured girl.
It was thought that her throat was cut while she was asleep and that the motive was jealousy and that the few trinkets and articles of jewellery taken were in order to conceal the real motive.
A friend of Emily Dimmock said that some months before Emily Dimmock had recieved a threatening post card with a postmark from a seaside town that read 'Do not be surprised if you hear of a murder being done. You have ruined my life, and I may do it soon'. The handwriting of the threatening letters was the same as the handwriting on a letter regarding the Rising Sun that Emily Dimmock had also recieved.
The police found the remains of a letter in which the writer had made an appointment with Emily Dimmock for the Wednesday night.
On the Friday before the murder the man who was tried for her murder was seen in the Rising Sun pub talking to Emily Dimmock. It was said that he had been intimate with her for some months before she was killed and that she seemed scared of him.
An out of work carman said that he was passing the house on St Pauls Road at about 4.40am when he heard some footsteps and when he turned he saw someone who had come out of the house walking rapidly down the road in the opposite direction. he said he couldnt see the mans face but saw his back and noticed the jaunty manner of his walk. He said that the man was wearing dark clothes with the collar of his overcoat turned up behind his neck. He added that it was a dirty, drizzling morning. when he atteneded the Kentish Town Police station for an identity parade he identified the man that was on trial. However, when asked to describe the peculiar gait of the man he had seen the car man shrugged his shoulders alternately with a sharp forward movement and added that the man had had rather broader shoulders than he had. But when they asked the men to turn around the man that was tried was shown to have had exceedingly narrow shoulders.
The woman who Emily Dimmock and her partner rented out their lodgings from said that she knew them as Mr and Mrs Shaw and said that they had been there nine weeks, occupying two rooms on the ground floor and paying a rent of 8s. a week.
She said that she knew that Emily Dimmock's partner was employed on the Midland Railway.
She said that on 11 September 1907 she was at home in both the afternoon and evening and saw Emily Dimmock's partner leave as usual about 4.30pm at which time Emily Dimmock was in the house. She said Emily Dimmock was washing in the washhouse in the yard at the back. After Emily Dimmock's partner had gone Emily Dimmock had gathered up the linen and taken it away and afterwards gone into the wash house several times to clear the place up until about 8pm. She said that she noticed that Emily Dimmock had on a brown velvet skirt and light blouse, and her hair was in curling pins round the forehead.
Besides folding her linen she said she tidied the rooms upstairs in expectation of her partner coming home next day and the last time she saw her that evening was about 8pm. She said that at about 8.20pm she heard the front door shut saying that Emily Dimmock had a key to the front door.
She said that the key of the parlour was usually kept in the door inside, the key of the folding doors was generally kept in the door, and the key of the back room leading into the passage was generally kept in the door inside.
She said she went to bed that night about 10.55pm and by that time heard no sound of anyone going into the front room. The next morning she got up about 8am, saying that it was her habit to knock at Emily Dimmock's bedroom door. She said on the morning of 12 September 1907 she knocked at Emily Dimmock's door at about 9am and getting no answer thought he was out. She said then that Emily Dimmock's partner came home about the usual time, about 11.20am and that she was present when he tried the parlour door, and she got the key for him that would fit it. She said she went into the room when he opened the door and saw the drawers from the chest of drawers were piled up, with some of them on the floor. She said the shutters in the front room were shut with the exception of a gap of about one foot in the middle.
She said Emily Dimmock's partner forced open the folding doors and went into the bedroom and she then saw the body of Emily Dimmock lying on the bed and a good deal of blood and then she went back to her kitchen and afterwards a policeman came.
The Divisional Surgeon said he was called to 29 St Pauls Road, and on arriving went into the bedroom on the ground floor. He said he saw a heap of clothes first of all adding that the bed had a very disarranged appearance with the clothes all tossed about. He said the bolster was lying lengthwise at the back of the figure on the bed, and on removing the coverings he saw the nude figure of Emily Dimmock. He said the bedclothes were all saturated in blood, and there was a stream of blood on the floor reaching to within a foot of the fender.
He said the blood had gone through the bed. He said he saw an extensive cut to her throat reaching from about three-quarters of an inch from the lobe of the left ear, very deep, and cutting through the arteries, veins, and nerves on that side towards the right side, cutting through the windpipe and separating everything to the vertebrae. He said her head was almost severed from the trunk, and was only held in position by the muscles at the back of the neck. He said the wound extended to the lobe of the right ear, but was not so deep on the right side as on the left. He formed the opinion that the wound must have been caused by a very sharp instrument, used with a very determined force.
The cause of death was syncope, arising from the sudden loss of a quantity of blood with death beingalmost instantaneous. He also said that it was quite impossible that such a wound could have been self-inflicted.
He said the temperature of her body at the time was quite cold and judging from the rigor mortis she must have been dead for several hours. He made a post-mortem examination and amongst other things examined the contents of her stomach. He said she had had supper, and among other things found indications of mint, as though from mint sauce, and potatoes and bread. The stage which digestion had reached indicated that the meal had been taken about three and a half hours prior to her death. He said that there were also indications that she had drunk something dark, which he thought was probably stout.
When he saw Emily Dimmock he said she was lying on her left side, rather inclining towards the stomach or chest. Her right arm was lying on the pillow within 8 in. or 9 in. of her head. Her left arm was lying across her back saturated with blood, which had dried on her hand, and there was also the clot on the back. He said her attitude was suggestive of natural sleep, her head was still upon the pillow. He said the position of her left arm was scarcely a natural position for a person to sleep in, but all the other portions of the body were natural, and he came to the conclusion that her left arm was placed in that position after death by her assailant.
He said her legs were drawn up in a very natural position. The right knee was resting just below the left knee. He said he formed an opinion as to how she had been attacked saying that the assailant was at her back on the bed between her and the wall. He said her head must have been slightly raised either by placing the hand under the forehead or by grasping her hair or more likely by placing their hand on her forehead, raised sufficiently to get the sharp instrument as far back as possible to the throat. He said her head at first evidently was not raised sufficiently for the instrument to pass between the head and the bed. Consequently, there was a clean cut on the sheet and the tick of the bed. When a sufficient height had been obtained, it was simply a matter of a moment. There need not have been much blood necessarily on the assailant except upon the right hand.
He then detailed the basin on the wash stand saying the water in the basin was discoloured with blood, and that in the basin there was a petticoat which might have been used for the purpose of cleaning a hand although there were no finger marks on it.
He also made an examination of her body for the purpose of seeing whether sexual connections had taken place within an appreciable time. He said there was a quantity of mucus, but after four or five microscopical examinations failed to detect spermatozoa. He said that Emily Dimmock had suffered from syphilis, but not recently. He said there were a few skin marks, but it might have been 12 months since she had the disease.
He also said he noticed that Emily Dimmock had a roll of curlers in front of her hair, and also some combs in her hair and a back comb was lying on the pillow as though it had fallen out of her hair.
When the man who was tried for hermurder was asked if he had killed her in court he said 'Of course, not. I mean it it ridiculous.'
He then went on to say that he had made her acquaintance in the Rising Sun on the Friday. He said he lived within a stone's throw of the Rising Sun. But did not know that Phyllis Dimmock lived nearly opposite. He said that on the Friday night Emily Dimmock asked him for a penny for the gramophone which he gave her and said he paid for drinks. He said later a boy offered some postcards for sale but they were of a very common, inartistic kind and he produced some more artistic cards from his pocket, and Emily Dimmock chose the card that was produced in court. He said she told him she collected them, and asked him if he would send it to her, and write something pleasing on it to give it interest. He said he signed the card with the name Alice at her request.
He said he saw her again the following night in Great College Street, as he was on my way to the Gas Company's offices in Camden Road.
He next saw her on the Monday night for some tune in the Rising Sun. He said that other people were there and he did not take Emily Dimmock to the Holbom Music Hall that night. He said he had a sketch book, and that Emily Dimmock amused herself looking through it. He said she had some intelligence and that appealed to him. It would be some time after 11 that he left the Rising Sun on the Monday night. He said that she called his attention on the Saturday night to the fact that he had not sent the postcard and so he posted it on the Sunday night, he thought, in the pillar box in Museum Street, after he had left his brother's place.
He said on the Tuesday night he was not in the Rising Sun at all. He said that he was on my way to Red Lion Street to see about some ink for a style pen when he met his brother in Theobald's Road and after they had gone to the public library and to the barber's, he accompanied him home and had supper after which they went to Frederick Street to see their father.
He said he did not go out again after that. On the following evening, 11 September 1907, he said he was in the Eagle public house with Emily Dimmock whom he met in the Camden Road. A friend came in, and he introduced her to him as a merry girl friend. He said he only knew her a Phyllis, and did not mention her name. He said he addressed the postcard to Mrs B Shaw at her dictation. A little later his friend went away. He said he could not say exactly how Emily Dimmock was dressed that night, but said she looked very neat and did not notice whether her hair was in curling pins. He said that he left her in the Eagle public house at about 11 o'clock, and walked straight home, arriving between half past 11 and 12.
He said he went into his father's room, as he had been seriously ill, and when he left him he took the clock which had been put in his room for his convenience during the day. He said he did not leave the house again that night. He said he went to my work the following morning a few minutes past eight o'clock, wearing the navy blue suit he had worn all the summer.
He said all his life he had had his clothes from one tailor, and he had a record. He said he was not at that time wearing his great coat, which he supposed would then be folded away in a drawer. He said to his knowledge it was not hanging behind the door on 4 October 1907 and that he put it away at the commencement of the summer, and at that time it was still warm. He said he had no overcoat on on the night he saw Emily Dimmock and the weather was fine and he had no need of it. He said he was at work all the Thursday and on the Friday something was said to me about an unfortunate woman having been killed.
He said he had never been to 29, St Paul's Road in his life. he said that when he read the announcement: 'Mysterious crime. Woman found murdered at Camden Town. A terrible tragedy was discovered yesterday morning at 29, St. Paul's Road, Camden Town, the victim being a young woman of 23 years, Mrs. Shaw, who had lived at that address for some months' it did not strike him that that was the same person and address he had sent the postcard to and took little notice of it. He said that when he saw the word Phyllis in inverted commas he was startled. He later tried to and induce a friend to say falsely that she was with me on that night.
In court he asked 'Is it not natural that I should do so? Is there not a certain amount of disgrace attached to it for a young man? I am sure it must appeal to the average man that he would like to steer clear of it. I was anxious, if possible, to conceal the fact that I had been with her on the Wednesday night and to get straight away from that association.'
He said that what the girl had said was quite true, that he asked her to say that she was with me from half-past six till half-past 10 that night. He said that his father had no knowledge that on the three occasions he had spoken of he had been in public-houses in the Euston Road, and that was what he was afraid of him hearing. He said his father knew of the girl, but he did not mention her to him very often. He met the girl on the 20 September 1907 and arranged to take her to the theatre on the 23 September 1907 which they did. They went for a walk and he suggested that she should say that that walk was the walk that they took on the night of 11 September 1907.
He went to see her on Sunday, 29 September 1907, the day after he had seen the reproduction of the postcard. When he saw the reproduction he said he recognised at once that his handwriting must be known and that if was impossible any longer to conceal the fact of his acquaintance with the Emily dimmock and on the 29 September 1907 an arrangement was made with te girl that she should say she was with him on that particular night. he said that when he was arrested on 4 October 1907 he made the statement that had been put in, which is a mixture of the statement he made in court and the statement as arranged between him and the girl.
He said that with the exception of the false alibi for the Wednesday that statement was true. He said he was anxious to cover up the Wednesday night because he had his people to consider and he had himself to consider, knowing that Emily Dimmock was associated with the Rising Sun, which he said had rather a bad reputation, without wishing to hurt the feelings of the proprietor, and to be associated with witnesses in the case of that kind was very unpleasant to him.
He said he did not say to the policeman that if it came to a pinch he should have to open out adding that that was most unfair. He said that that had hurt him more than anything and was hitting below the belt.
He said he was advised to go to the police, but declined to do so and as a matter of fact he had never been able to give to the police any information with regard to the actual commission of the murder. He said he did not know her acquaintances and was a stranger to the people in the bar.
He said with regard to the charred fragments of the letter, he had never seen them until they were shown him three or four days earlier. He admitted that the writing on them was his writing, but said the whole thing seemed to be confusion and that the fragments did not form part of a three-page letter. He said he had never written a three-page letter to Emily Dimmock and having carefully considered the matter said he was unable to give any explanation for the charred fragments. He said it was a jumble, not a letter. The writing ws in all directions. He do not know how that fragment came to be in the fireplace and that the only thing he could connect it with were odd sketches and little things he was doing. Hw said that as to the suggestion that it was a portion of a letter, he had never written to Phyllis making an appointment to meet her in the Eagle tavern and never sent her a letter through the post, only a postcard.
He also said that he had never signed 'Bert' in his life, and was always called 'Bob.'
see National Archives MEPO 3/182
see Western Times - Thursday 19 December 1907
see Dundee Courier - Saturday 23 November 1907
see Hull Daily Mail - Saturday 14 September 1907
see Western Times - Thursday 14 November 1907
see Penny Illustrated Paper - Saturday 26 October 1907
see Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 25 April 2016), December 1907, trial of WOOD. Robert William Thomas George Cavers (t19071210-29).