Unsolved Murders

Isabella Gilling

Age: 25

Sex: female

Date: 17 Mar 1925

Place: Hill House, Burrington, Somerset

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Isabella Gilling died from an illegal operation in the Infirmary at Axbridge.

She died from septicaemia following an illegal operation.

The doctors that carried out the post-mortem said that it would have been impossible for her to have carried out the operation herself but her husband said that she had told him that she had used an instrument.

She complained of pains on 11 March 1925 and a doctor was sent for. The next day she was taken to Axbridge Infirmary.

At first she denied having taken drugs but later admitted using an instrument.

A matron at the Infirmary said that Isabella Gilling's mother had told her that another woman had told Isabella Gilling what to do but that she wasn't going to mention any names.

A woman who had been accused of complicity in the act appeared at the Coroner's inquest saying that she wanted to clear her name. She said that they were neighbours and that she had known Isabella Gilling for five months and were very good friends. She said that Isabella Gilling had mentioned some action to her and that she had replied 'I would not have the nerve' and nothing more was said of it. She strenuously denied that she had ever suggested to Isabella Gilling that she should use an instrument or drug.

Isabella Gilling's husband appeared at the inquest and admitted that he had been on intimate terms with a girl in the village but said that that was not the cause of his wife's unhappiness. It was noted as a fact that the girl had been dismissed from her situation and that he had admitted that he had been suspended since the previous Monday.

The Coroner stated that if Isabella Gilling had used the instrument herself then she had committed suicide but if someone else had performed the operation then they had committed murder, however, he told the jury that they should not allow suspicion, however strong it might seem, to affect their verdict.

The jury stated that they did not believe that she had carried out the operation herself but returned an open verdict and that there was insufficient evidence to show who had aided her.

Isabella Gilling had three children and her husband was a postman.


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


see Western Daily Press - Friday 03 April 1925

see Shepton Mallet Journal - Friday 27 March 1925

see Shepton Mallet Journal - Friday 10 April 1925