Unsolved Murders

Frances Benjamin Baker

Age: 34

Sex: male

Date: 18 Aug 1909

Place: Inner Camber, Portsmouth

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Frances Benjamin Baker was found dead in the Inner Camber.

He had a piece of spun yarn embedded round his neck.

The cause of death was given as asphyxiation by drowning.

Frances Baker was a labouring man. The month before he had been living with his brother-in-law in Old Portsmouth but had since lodged in the public house in East Street, Portsea. He was subject to fits and as the result of an accident he limped noticeably.

He had been out of regular work and lived on the casual work which he could get. He was also in the habit of going to the Camber to water a boat belonging to a friend.

Early in the morning of 10 August 1909 he left his lodgings at the pub and was never seen alive again. His body was discovered on the Sunday by a boy who was rowing a skiff in the inner Camber who saw a pair of seaboots sticking out of the water.

The boy called a couple of men over and they took hold of the boots and pulled Frances Baker into a boat where he was identified.

When his body was examined they found a piece of spun yarn embedded deeply in his neck. At the end of the rope was a noose and the other end passed through it. The free end of the rope was frayed as though it had snapped. It was thought that a heavy weight might have been attached to the other end and that the rope had snaped when his body was pulled out. His brother-in-law said that he might have fallen into the water in a fit and the rope might have slipped over his neck when he was pulled out.

He was thought to have died eight days before.

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

see Portsmouth Evening News - Wednesday 18 August 1909 p5