Unsolved Murders

Edith Walmsley

Age: unknown

Sex: female

Date: 1 Apr 1903

Place: Golden Lion Hotel, Wheelton, Chorley

Edith Walmsley was trashed to death. She was found in bed unconscious with over 30 bruises and a fractured skull.

Her husband was tried but the prosecution offered no evidence and he was acquitted.

Her son said that they quarrelled frequently and that a week before her death he had seen his father hit and kick her.

On the morning of 1 April 1903 a man that had breakfasted with Edith Walmsley's husband said that he seemed strange in his manner and had said to him 'I wish when I get back I shall find that ---- dead'.

Another witness said that she had seen Edith Walmsley's husband try to throttle her.

The autopsy found distinct bruises under the chin as of a thumb mark, one on the abdomen 5in by 4in and a deep indentation, as if from knee pressure, evidently due to direct force. There was also a large puffy swelling on the head as from a blow. There were over 30 bruises on the body.

The doctor was called to the house to see Edith Walmsley at 9am on the morning of 1 April1903 but was not able to get to the house until 10.07pm. When he saw Edith Walmsley in bed and examined her he found that she was in a deep coma and that he could touch the white of her eye with causing her to blink. He examined her heart which was strong and also bruises on her arms and head which he said could not have been self-inflicted or caused by a fall. He stayed with her for about 30 minutes during which time she had an epileptic fit. He then left to see other patients and returned at 1.30pm and found her in the same condition. He then returned at 7pm and found that she had died.

The post mortem appearances were consistent with the injuries. The liver was abnormally large, 72oz and there was a stone weighing 50 grains in one disintegrated kidney. The brain substance was bruised. It was stated that the injury might have been caused by a hammer produced at the inquest.

Death was due to a blow on the head and haemorrhage on the brain.

Edith Walmsley had been married to her husband for 13 years and they had two children. They took the Golden Lion in December 1901 after saving some money.

Her husband had been to see the Grand National at Aintree at the end of March and had spent the following days drinking heavily. On 31 march 1903 he had called on some neighbours in an excited state and effected by drinking, laughing one moment and then crying the next, and as he was leaving he had said 'I wish yon was dead' pointing to the house where his wife was.

On that same morning a woman had gone to see Edith Walmsley at the pub and said that she was in good health and saw her have a glass of whisky and water. It was thought that there was no one in the house between 11.40am and 12 noon other than Edith Walmsley, her husband and their two children. The woman later went back to the pub and found Edith Walmsley in a very different condition to what she had been in earlier in the day. She said that she was very languid and when going upstairs leaned heavily on the banisters. At about 5pm she saw Edith Walmsley lying on the bed upstairs fully dressed in an unconscious state.

That night Edith Walmsley's husband slept in another room with their children and the next morning the woman went back over to see Edith Walmsley and found her lying on the bed in the same condition as the previous evening. She undressed her and saw certain bruises and then called for the doctor.

However, the judge said that there was no direct evidence to put to a jury to justify either a charge of murder or manslaughter and the husband was found not guilty.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Lincolnshire Echo - Friday 10 April 1903

see Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Monday 13 April 1903

see Dundee Evening Post - Monday 13 April 1903

see Lancashire Evening Post - Thursday 02 April 1903

see Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Friday 10 April 1903

see National Archives - ASSI 52/91