Unsolved Murders

Gertrude Shaw

Age: 24

Sex: female

Date: 1 Dec 1915

Place: 293 Anlaby Road, Hull

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Gertrude Shaw died from an illegal operation.

She died from pelvic peritonitis, consequent upon an illegal operation.

Gertrude Shaw had married in March 1910 and had two children, one aged four and the other one.

Her husband said that in 1911 they had made plans to go to America, but on the day previous to the sailing Gertrude Shaw had sent him a postcard saying that she had changed her mind, noting that she didn't want to leave her parents. The husband had said that whilst in America he had sent her remittances from time to time and had given her £10 when he came back. He said that he had been an assistant superintendent at a hospital whilst in America and had been paid $10 a week and everything found. However, he said that since returning to England he had lived with Gertrude Shaw on the terms of greatest affection.

He said that on 29 November 1915 he had gone out at 2.30pm to call on a friend on the Cottingham Road where he had had tea. He said that he then walked home, returning between 5pm and 5.15pm, to find Gertrude Shaw in great pain and seated doubled up. He said that she told him that she had slipped down six steps after going out of the store-room.

Her husband said that he believed that she had injured herself internally and said, 'For God's sake, go upstairs while you are able', and said that he assisted her upstairs, saying that he didn't carry her as he suffered from rheumatism. He said that Gertrude Shaw had not taken any drugs as far as he knew and said that if he had known that she was taking drugs he should have objected and prevented it as far as he could. He also denied that he had ever recommended any woman to operate on her.

The husband also said that Gertrude Shaw had told him a few weeks before her death that she had heard of women doing certain things when they feared they were in a certain condition and said that he warned her of the sin and seriousness of any such action and said that he told her that if it occurred that it would mean the breaking up of their home again.

He said that he was up for the whole night on 1 December 1915 when Gertrude Shaw became ill and in the early morning rang for the cook. It was noted that the doctor had not been, and the husband denied that he had told the servant to take the body of a prematurely born baby away.

It was heard that he later called for a doctor at six o'clock and that the doctor arrived at half past seven o'clock. Gertrude Shaw's mother then arrived at about twelve o'clock. The husband denied that he had heard Gertrude Shaw tell her mother that she had had an illegal operation, stating that he did not think she had said it.

The husband noted that he was not on good terms with Gertrude Shaw's mother, saying that she had taken food and because she had set his servants to defy him, and also because he had prevented a cousin of his mother-in-law from seeing Gertrude Shaw according to doctors orders.

It was also heard that Gertrude Shaw's mother had said that her husband had known about the operation.

He also said that he was unaware that his wife, Gertrude Shaw, was passing herself off as single while he had been away in America.

Gertrude Shaw had also given a statement given on her death bed in which she stated that someone had taken a certain course with her, regarding an external means.

The Coroner also noted that there was medical evidence that an external means had been used.


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


see Hull Daily Mail - Friday 07 January 1916

see Hull Daily Mail - Tuesday 21 December 1915