Unsolved Murders

Robert Tomlin

Age: 21

Sex: male

Date: 2 Apr 1905

Place: 9 Suffolk Street, Fulham

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Robert Tomlin was attacked in Greyhound Road, Fulham.

He was a labourer and had lived with his mother at 9 Suffolk Street in Fulham.

His mother said that he was a healthy lad and that he came home about 8pm on 1 April 1905 and told her that he was going to meet his fiance. Shortly after at 9pm she said that she was in the street when she heard that someone had kicked him to death. She then went to Greyhound Road where she saw him there unconscious. She said that he was a sober man and not quarrelsome and that she was present at his death in the Infirmary on Sunday morning.

His fiance who was a general servant, said that Robert Tomlin called for her at her home on Garvan Road around 9pm and they went out together. She said that they walked up Field Road and then called into a public house stopping for about a quarter of an hour leaving around 9.15pm. She said that they then stopped and listened to an organ for 20 minutes and then walked up Greyhound Road towards Fulham Palace Road on the right hand side of the road.

She said that when they were between Garvan Road and Crefield Road around 9.40pm or 9.45pm they met two men who were rolling about. She said that one of them rolled into Robert Tomlin as a result of a drunken stumble. She said that the man appeared to be very drunk and the other was holding him. She said that when the man knocked against Robert Tomlin it knocked her against the railings and Robert Tomlin said to the man, 'Mind where you are coming'. She said that the man then replied 'I'll soon show you where I am coming', and that he then caught hold of Robert Tomlin by his shoulders and threw him into the road causing him to hit his head on the ground. She said that the man went down with Robert Tomlin on top of him, but said that she didn't think that he threw himself on top of him intentionally but because Robert Tomlin had caught hold of him as he fell.

She said then that they rolled over, and the man punched Robert Tomlin in the side and then got up and kicked him in the head or neck.

She said then that the other man that was with them pulled the man away and said, 'He's all right he has only had a drop of drink', and then they both ran off towards the Prince Of Wales Hotel.

She said that Robert Tomlin was insensible and she saw a boy and asked him to go and get assistance and that the police then arrived and took Robert Tomlin away in an ambulance.

She said that she didn't see Robert Tomlin strike or threaten to strike the man and that it was rather dark but that there was a streetlamp at the corner, and she could clearly see the man who attacked Robert Tomlin. She said that the next time she saw him was in the police station yard when she picked him out from ten other men. She said that he had a black eye and a square cut coat and that she recognised him by his face. She also identified the man charged with his murder in court. She said that she had never met him before.

The man that was tried said that it wasn't him and that he had been mistaken for another man. He also said that the identification sworn by Robert Tomlin's girlfriend was the result of an interview which a police officer had had with his sisters before his arrest.

During the trial it was heard that four witnesses to the murder had died since the night of the tragedy and that the defence was in consequence seriously handicapped.

The judge said that the evidence was not sufficiently clear to justify a conviction and directed the jury to acquit the prisoner.

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

see Belfast Telegraph - Wednesday 31 May 1905

see Gloucestershire Echo - Saturday 20 May 1905

see Dublin Daily Express - Tuesday 04 April 1905

see Swindon Advertiser and North Wilts Chronicle - Friday 26 May 1905

see London Daily News - Wednesday 31 May 1905

see National Archives - CRIM 1/98/4