Unsolved Murders

Alice Jones

Age: 56

Sex: female

Date: 1 Jan 1926

Place: Grace Road, Thornton Heath

Alice Jones was found dead in her cellar on New Year's Day.

At first it was thought that her death was the result of an accident but doctors later found a wound in her neck.

The wound was about an inch long, half an inch broad, and approximately two inches deep. It was described as the sort of wound that would likely cause a fatal shock and certainly the cause of death.

She also had three or four abrasions on her body that had been caused by her falling into her cellar. A fourth abrasion was thought to have possibly been caused some days prior to her death. It was said that three or four seconds might have elapsed between the infliction of the neck wound and the infliction of the abrasions. The Coroner asked if it was possible that three of four heart-beats had intervened between the infliction of the wound and the infliction of the abrasions and the doctor said that there could have been an interval of some minutes. He added that it was possible that she might have walked across the room but said that she could not have walked very far.

The pathologist said that the neck wound could possibly have been accidental or self-inflicted, but not probable and was more likely the result of a blow and had existed before her death.

A stepson said that a few nights after her death he heard his father say 'Annie, I didn't mean it'. However, the husband denied that he had said that as he had not slept on the night in question and had lain awake talking.

Her husband said that Alice Jones had suffered from a weak heart and had a bad leg that often caused her to fall. He also said that she had very bad sight and had had ten or eleven operations on her eyes and that the sight in her right eye was nearly gone.

He said that on New Year’s Day he had gone to Kingsway to inquire about his pension which had not arrived in the morning's post and that when he had left he had left Alice Jones sitting in a chair sewing. He said that in his hurry to go he had neglected to get up some coal for Alice Jones and had hurried home on that account. However, before he reached his home he said that he met his son who said 'Father, don't be upset. There's a mob round our house, and some boys have been throwing up some stones at our window'. He said he asked his son 'What have you been up to?' and his son had replied 'Nothing, dad'.

Alice Jones had an allowance of £5 5s. a quarter from her father's estate which was paid by her brother-in-law who was a bank manager in Birmingham and which ceased with her death.

The husband was asked by the foreman of the jury at the Coroner's inquest whether he and Alice Jones were happy and the husband had replied 'Certainly we were happy, as sandbags. We were regarded as two old cronies. We always walked arm-in-arm, as the neighbours will tell you if they speak the truth.'.

The Coroner said that all the evidence pointed away from the theory of suicide but asked that if it were an accident then where was the instrument or object that had caused it? and why wasn't it found? It was noted that it was quite possible that in the circumstances the instrument wasn't found because it was not looked for at the time as it was thought that her death had been an accident.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see The Scotsman - Saturday 13 March 1926

see Northern Whig - Saturday 13 March 1926

see Dundee Evening Telegraph - Tuesday 16 February 1926

see Lancashire Evening Post - Saturday 13 March 1926

see The National Library of Scotland