Unsolved Murders

Florence Firmin

Age: 39

Sex: female

Date: 29 Sep 1925

Place: 53 Freeston Street, Cleethorpes

Florence Firmin died from a suspected illegal operation.

She was the wife of a trawler skipper and already had two daughters and two sons.

A doctor was called to her home on Friday 25 September 1925 after she became ill. the doctor found that he found signs of peritonitis and she was taken to the Grimsby and District Hospital on the Sunday 27 September 1925.

It was found that she was in a certain condition and that an illegal operation had been carried out but that it was not successful and which went on to be the cause of her death. She died later on Tuesday morning 29 September 1925.

The coroner stated that Florence Firmin had claimed that she had carried out the operation herself and so the Coroner stated that the p[principle question was whether she was capable of carrying out the operation herself and also whether she did carry out the operation herself.

The doctor said that when he went to see her he asked her if she had been using any instrument upon herself and that she had admitted that she had.

Her husband said that he had left home on 21 September 1925 leaving Florence Firmin in good health although he said that he was suspicious of her condition. He said that he then returned home on the Monday 28 September 1925 to find that she had been removed to the hospital and that she was very ill. He said that she was conscious and said to him 'I am going'.

He said that he asked her if there was anything she had to tell him before she died and that she replied 'No'. He said he asked her twice and the second time she said 'No, what do you know? Who has been telling you something? What has the doctor been telling you?'. The husband said that he felt obliged to answer 'Nothing'. He said that he remained at her side until she died.

The doctor stated that her death was due to septic poisoning and peritonitis.

A woman who lived on Lovett Street said that she had known Florence Firmin for a couple of years and that about a month earlier she had come to her house and told her that she was in a certain condition and that she knew a woman who could get her out of her trouble. The woman said that Florence Firmin told her that the fee was 25s. but refused to tell her who the woman was although she said that if she got over it she would tell her afterwards.

The woman said that when she visited Florence Firmin on 21 September 1925 which was the day she was supposed to be sending for the woman. She said that the next day Florence Firmin sent for her and when she went to see her she was ill in bed and that she told her that the woman had done something to her.

Florence Firmin's 14 year old daughter said that on 21 September 1925 her mother told her to fetch a certain woman and instructed her not to let anyone see her. She said that she then left the woman and her mother alone in the kitchen. The daughter said that during the evening her mother complained of pains and went to bed early in the evening and that the following day she was sent again for the woman who she fetched. She said that the woman went into her mother's bedroom. She said that the woman also came again later that day as well as coming again on the Thursday. She said that her mother told her not to tell anyone that the woman had been. She said that as her mother seemed very ill she asked her repeatedly to call in a doctor but that she refused.

The Coroner summed up saying that Florence Firmin had undoubtedly died from an unlawful operation and that the question was whether she had performed it herself or was she shielding some other person when she had said she had.

The Coroner pointed out that it should be made known in the press that an attempt to procure an abortion was a felony and that anyone guilty of such was liable to a maximum penalty of penal servitude for life and that anyone doing so knowing full well that it might result in death was guilty of murder.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Lincolnshire Echo - Friday 09 October 1925

see Hull Daily Mail - Thursday 01 October 1925

see Hull Daily Mail - Thursday 08 October 1925