Unsolved Murders

William Mitchell

Age: 40

Sex: male

Date: 13 May 1916

Place: Tennyson Road, Sheffield

William Mitchell died from a fractured skull after falling in Tennyson Road, Sheffield.

He had a fractured skull and a laceration of the brain.

It was thought that he had been involved in an affray with another man and woman although there was little evidence to indicate how he got his injury.

He had been out on the Saturday night drinking and was later seen with another man and a woman who was the wife of a man away on active service at the time. They were seen standing on the corner of Tennyson Road. Shortly after William Mitchell fell to the ground and hit his head.

One witness said that the other man had given William Mitchell a blow or a shove that caused him to fall whilst another person said that William Mitchell was too drunk to stand up.

William Mitchell had lodged with a woman whose husband was a gunner in the Royal Field Artillery. He had lodged with her since 20 March to 6 May 1923 and they had arranged to meet her at a hotel in Penistone Road on the Saturday night but instead the woman went to another hotel on the Langsett Road and then later went on to another hotel on Wadsley Lane where she sat and had some champagne with another man.

After leaving the hotel the man accompanied the woman on her car and then walked with her to the top of her road. It was noted that she initially said that she had left the man at the hotel and the Coroner pointed out that she had earlier lied under oath on that matter.

The woman said that the man walked up to her house but found William Mitchell waiting for her outside. The woman told William Mitchell that he had better go to his lodgings but that he had refused and had used threats. He was said to have been drunk and the man and woman stayed with him for about 20 minutes trying to get him to go home. It was also noted that the woman had two of her children with her at the time.

The man was said then to have gone up to William Mitchell and said, 'Now, old man, go home, and don't interfere with this lady and insult her like that'. William Mitchell was then said to have aimed a blow at the man but missed and hit the woman instead and then to have fallen over.

The woman also said that when the man had gone up to William Mitchell he had said to him, 'You ought to be ashamed, using that language' and that William Mitchell had responded by asking the man what he had to do with it and then threatened to knock his head off.

The man, who was a crucible maker from Reginald Street aged 28 said that he had heard William Mitchell using filthy language and because the woman's children were there he interfered. He said that when William Mitchell struck at him he had given him a shove and that William Mitchell had staggered back and slipped over when he got to the edge of the causeway. The man said that he then left thinking that William Mitchell was too drunk to get up.

An open verdict was returned after the jury decided that there was not enough evidence to show that William Mitchell had slipped in his drunkenness or because of a blow from another man.

The Coroner noted that he did not place much reliance on the evidence given by the woman saying that she had been telling lies after she had been warned that she was on oath and that he thought it was natural for a drunk man to be annoyed that another man should take the part of a woman who had arranged to meet him and had not done so. He said that it was a sordid case and that he felt sorry for the woman's husband who was fighting on the front while his wife was apparently going to pubs and drinking there.

William Mitchell was an engineer's fitter and turner.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Sheffield Independent - Friday 19 May 1916