Unsolved Murders

Lily Mottram

Age: 21

Sex: female

Date: 16 Oct 1913

Place: River Derwent, Wyver Lane, Belper

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Lily Mottram was found in the River Derwent near the railway bridge at Wyver Lane.

She had lived on Over Lane in Belper.

She had left home on the Monday 13 October 1913 in order to go and see a doctor but she never returned. She was however seen the next morning in King Street, Belper, but two days later her body was found in the River Derwent.

She had been unwell for a time with a mild chronic form of appendicitis for which an operation was not thought necessary and had suffered from depression. However, there was no known reason for her to take her own life and she had never threatened to do so before. She appeared younger than her years but was of a cheerful disposition and a little excitable and shy.

She was found by a photographer who had been out taking photographs in the neighbourhood and was walking along the banks of the river. Whilst near the railway bridge at Wyver Lane he saw a small basket containing an empty tin, an empty medicine bottle and a purse with 4s. 7d. in it. After finding the basket he examined the bank and found what he thought might have been footprints in the mud. He then got a boat with the assistance of another man and searched the river bed where he found Lily Mottram about six yards from the bank and in about four feet of water.

She was fully dressed except for her hat which was not found and there were no marks of violence on her body or indications of a struggle.

The coroner said that she might have gone to the river after seeing the doctor and taken her own life or she might have fallen in accidently and a verdict of found drowned was returned.


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


see Derbyshire Courier - Saturday 25 October 1913