Unsolved Murders


Age: 0

Sex: male

Date: 19 May 1924

Place: Park Hill Hall, Barnby Dun, Doncster

The body of a newly-born male child was found in a pond at Park Hill Hall, Barnby Dun on 2 May 1924.

The body was decomposed and had a strip of linen tied tightly round its neck twice, cutting into its flesh.

The medical evidence showed that the child had been born alive and had a separate existence and had died from strangulation.

The inquest heard that there was suspicion on a local servant girl at Park Hill Hall, but that it could not be said beyond reasonable doubt that the child found in the pond had been hers.

A domestic servant at Park Hill Hall said that she had been in the habit of going into Doncaster on Saturday nights with the servant girl, but that on a Saturday night in March 1924, the servant girl had told her that she had not been well, and would not go into Doncaster unless she felt better.

She said that the servant girl complained of pains in the body and went upstairs where she later found her sitting on the bed, doubled up, with a pinafore with blood stains on it. However, she said that the servant girl later came down and discharged her ordinary duties.

A 26-year-old railway shunter who lived in Barnby Dun said that he made the acquaintance of the servant girl in early February 1924 and walked out with her. He said that when he heard rumours about her condition that he asked her whether they were true and that she replied:

Certainly not.

However, he said that he thought that the rumours were true and broke of the courtship.

A woman that did the charring at the hall said that she didn't believe the rumours at first, but that in March 1924 she concluded that the servant girl was in trouble.

The servant girl's mistress, the wife of a mining engineer, said that the servant girl had been in her service for two and a half years. She said that when she heard the rumours she spoke to her, but said that the servant girl told her:

There is nothing the matter with me. I am not in trouble.

She noted that the servant girl later repeated that in the presence of another fellow servant.

The Coroner said that for well-established reasons he was not going to call the servant girl, noting that she had already been asked certain questions by the police, and had entirely denied responsibility for anything to do with the child.

The Coroner noted that there was no suggestion whatever against the railway shunter, who he said had given his evidence in a straightforward and proper way, noting that he was a very sensible man and that his discretion was to be commended.

He said that the evidence was strong to a certain point, but that there was then a break. He asked the jury whether they could say there was no reasonable doubt that the child found in the pond had been the servant girls, adding that if not, then it was their duty to return an open verdict, which would still leave the police a free hand.

The jury then returned the verdict of, 'strangled by someone unknown'.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Leeds Mercury - Monday 19 May 1924

see Yorkshire Evening Post - Saturday 17 May 1924