Unsolved Murders

Emma Louisa Shaw

Age: 39

Sex: female

Date: 16 Oct 1916

Place: Portland Street, Hull

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Emma Louisa Shaw died from blood poisoning following an illegal operation.

Death was due to septicaemia consequent upon abortion.

A doctor who had been practicing in Grantham for 25 years was tried for her murder but acquitted.

Before she died Emma Shaw made a declaration that the doctor had performed an illegal operation on her. She told a Wesleyan Minister who was called to see her at the infirmary that she had been a bad wicked woman and had killed her baby. She told him that she had had the doctor in Grantham where she used to live. The minister asked her if he had performed the operation and she said, 'Yes'. She said 'I have had six children, and I didn't want to have any more. Lots of women did it at Grantham where we lived. He is a bad man. Will God forgive me? I have done a dreadfully wicked thing'.

After the police went to the doctor's lodgings on Cecil Street and took possession of an instrument as well as seven letters from other women patients. One letter was from a woman that appeared in court and said that she had also visited the doctor when he had lived on Dudley Street three times and subsequently suffered such great pain that she sent for another doctor on 21 February 1914 who said that he was of the opinion that an abortion had been brought about.

Another woman said that she went to see him on 15 May 1914 and he had asked her what money she was prepared to pay and she had asked him what money he was prepared to accept and he had said £5 and she said that she asked him to accept £1 on account of her position and as a friend and after some begging he accepted.

Two other women appeared in court with similar stories, one speaking of miscarriages on two occasions and the other saying that he had only charged her £2 because he knew her husband.

Emma Shaw had been the wife of a dairy farmer and had six children and lived on Portland Street in Hull although she used to live in Grantham.

The doctor had lived on Cecil Street in Grantham.


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


see Hull Daily Mail - Thursday 08 March 1917

see Dundee Evening Telegraph - Wednesday 13 December 1916

see Grantham Journal - Saturday 16 December 1916

see Grantham Journal - Saturday 13 January 1917

see Hull Daily Mail - Saturday 13 January 1917