Unsolved Murders

Jessie Waldie

Age: 61

Sex: female

Date: 27 Mar 1917

Place: 2 Normanton Street, Elm Grove, Brighton, West Sussex

Jessie Waldie and Louie Moulden were found beaten in their home at 2 Normanton Street on 27 March 1917.

Jessie Waldie was found dead with her head battered almost to a pulp whilst Louie Moulden was still alive and was taken to the Royal Sussex County hospital where she died on 6 April 1917.

Louie Moulden had arrived at the hospital in a dazed condition and it was said that she was scarcely able to make any coherent statement in reference to the tragedy. She had had a skull fracture and a large gash on the cheek.

Louie Moulden had lodged with Jessie Waldie at 2 Normanton Street, Elm Grove, Brighton. Normanton Street was described as having been in a respectable working-class district.

They were both widows, and noted for being the same age.

They were seen as usual on the Tuesday evening at about 9.45pm by a friend that had lived at 9 Normanton Street, but were not seen on the Wednesday morning, and at dinner time the neighbour from 9 Normanton Street, on getting alarmed by the fact that the blinds were still down, entered the premises.

She said that she had noticed that the blinds were down and said that when her husband came home for dinner that she commented upon it to him as being very strange, and said that she would run in and see if anything was the matter. She said that on opening the door that she called out and that Louie Moulden replied in a faint tone from upstairs, 'Come up'.  She said that she then went upstairs to Louie Moulden's room and tried the door but couldn't open it due to some obstruction behind it, and so she returned home and told her husband.

They then procured a ladder and her husband got in through the window and found Jessie Waldie dead and Louie Moulden injured in her bed.

The police were called to the house shortly after 2pm.

The friend that had lived at 9 Normanton Street said that Louie Moulden had had a visitor a little earlier, an elderly lady and a very old friend, but that she had left previously and that when she went home there had been no one else in the house other than Jessie Waldie and Louie Moulden.

In Jessie Waldie's room the police found a glass of stout which it was thought that Jessie Waldie had poured out for her supper, but did not appear to have touched, the glass being full.

In her statement Louie Moulden said that she had been visited by a friend in the evening of 27 March 1917 and that after her friend left, she sat down to read and that she remembered nothing more until she found herself in the room the following morning, in daylight, with the lamps still burning. She said that she called to Jessie Waldie, but found that she was lying dead in the same room.

In her statement she said, 'I remember lighting the woman downstairs with the lamp and then putting the lamp on the table. I made myself a glass of hot milk and sat at the table reading with my face turned towards the door of the room. I must have dosed off, for I remember nothing more until I regained consciousness, and was surprised to find that it was daylight, and the lamp was still burning on the table. My head was bad and I knew I was injured, and called Mrs Wellington several times, not knowing that the poor woman was lying dead in the same room all the time. I shouted and after what seemed a long time a woman came'.

It was thought that the murderer had entered the house by the front door, which could be opened from outside, and struck her a terrible blow as she slept in her chair. It was thought that she had cried out and that her neighbour, Jessie Waldie, had heard her and had come into her room to see and was then murdered.

It was noted that the motive was not known, but that if robbery had been the motive, that they could not have possibly hoped to get much because they had lived in poor circumstances.

The inquest returned verdicts of wilful murder against some person or persons unknown.

The Coroner said that the violence used looked almost maniacal.

The medical evidence stated that the wounds inflicted had been caused by some heavy weapon, probably a coal-hammer.

There was no sign of a struggle having taken place although there was said to have been a good deal of blood on the floor.

The police said that they had formed a certain theory in reference to the crime, but admitted that the circumstances were extremely bewildering and that the death of Louie Moulden had increased the difficulties in pursuing investigations.

Jessie Waldie was also known as Jessie Wellington.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Western Daily Press - Friday 13 April 1917

see Weekly Dispatch (London) - Sunday 01 April 1917

see Dublin Daily Express - Friday 13 April 1917

see The People - Sunday 01 April 1917

see Pall Mall Gazette - Thursday 29 March 1917

see Birmingham Daily Gazette - Saturday 07 April 1917

see Illustrated Police News - Thursday 19 April 1917

see Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail - Friday 13 April 1917

see Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 10 April 1917

see Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 03 April 1917