Unsolved Murders

Florence Fordham

Age: 21

Sex: female

Date: 22 Oct 1909

Place: Smyth Street, Wakefield, Yorkshire

Source: www.truecrimelibrary.com

Florence Fordham died after an illegal abortion.

Death was due to acute peritonitis. She had received a letter from her boyfriend that had upset her and she had gone out to get an abortion.

When she went to hospital because of her injuries she was operated on and after the operation she asked one of the surgeons if they knew her boyfriend and when they said not she said, 'Well, he is to blame for all this. He was to marry me on Thursday, and we had taken a house, but he wrote me a letter on the Monday and said he could not go through with the marriage. I don’t know the reason, but he will have to suffer for all this, if any man has'.

When the doctor asked her what she meant by saying that he was to blame she said that it was the letter that he had sent her that had upset her.

When her mother was questioned by the coroner, she said that when Florence Fordham had received the letter on the Monday she had gone out to her aunts and did not return until late at night. When the coroner asked why her daughter had gone to see her aunt in her time of trouble and not her own mother the mother said she didn’t know and guessed that maybe she didn’t want to trouble her.

The coroner then asked again why Florence Fordham would go to see her aunt and not her own mother and the mother again said 'I don’t know' and the coroner told her that it was no use sitting there saying she didn’t know when she did know and the mother replied 'I don’t know, sir, I am sure' and the coroner replied 'You won’t, you mean. I am confident you are not telling me all you know, and the result is you are raising suspicion'. When the mother again repeated that she had told him all she knew the coroner said, 'I can only say I don’t believe you'.

When the aunt was called before the coroner, she said that Florence Fordham had come to see her at 8.30am and had showed her a letter from her fiancee but did not say much else.


*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.


see Yorkshire Evening Post - Thursday 04 November 1909