Unsolved Murders

Jane Emma Spatt

Age: 55

Sex: female

Date: 4 Sep 1902

Place: 34 Coombe Street, Exeter

Jane Emma Spatt died from injuries received but the Coroner was unable to tell how she had received them.

She died from her injuries in the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital on 4 September 1902.

She had lived with her husband at 34 Coombe Street in Exeter.

Her husband had been a labourer employed by the Gas Works. He said that upon returning from work on Tuesday 2 September 1902 at about 8am he found Jane Spatt at home and apparently in good spirits. He said that she had had a little to drink, but was not intoxicated.

He said that she prepared his breakfast and that he didn't see her again until he visited her the following day in hospital, at which time she was in an unfit condition to be conversed with.

An assistant house surgeon at the hospital said that he saw Jane Spatt on the Wednesday morning, 3 September 1902, soon after she was admitted and found that she was apparently in great pain and that she had several fractured ribs on her right side.  He said that he asked her how she had met with the accident, and said that she replied that she had fallen down the stairs the previous night.

He said that from that time onwards she gradually got worse until about 8am on Thursday when she succumbed.

He said that he didn't know the exact cause of death, but thought it was probably due to an injury to the wall of the stomach caused by the accident.

However, a nurse in the ward to which Jane Spatt had been admitted, said that when she asked Jane Spatt how she met with her accident, she replied, 'Me and my maister had too much to drink. He was going to knock me, when I stepped backwards and fell over the stairs'.

Another nurse said that Jane Spatt made a similar statement to her about an hour after she was admitted to the institution.

A policeman said that he had known Jane Spatt and her husband for twenty years and said that her husband had been convicted for ill-treating his wife several times. He said that he had been to 34 Coombe Street which was a house let out in several tenements to carry out his investigation as well as around the neighbourhood but was unable to throw further light on the case.

After the evidence was heard at the inquest, the Coroner said that he could not help thinking that there was something behind the case that they had been unable to fathom.

The inquest returned an open verdict.

Only the northern part of Coombe Street remains today, and most of that has been redeveloped.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Saturday 13 September 1902

see Western Times - Saturday 06 September 1902

see National Library of Scotland

see Youtube