Unsolved Murders

Herbert Thompson

Age: 40

Sex: male

Date: 20 May 1926

Place: Padiham

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Herbert Thompson was found unconscious on the railway line between Padiham and Rosegrove and later died in hospital.

He was the passenger on a train that had left Barracks Station at about 8am on the Wednesday morning.

When the train arrived at Padiham, after being given certain information the railway officials examined all of the carriage doors on the train and found them to all be quite secure.

A short time after the train left Padiham a ballast train came the other way and a man on it noticed Herbert Thompson lying on the railway line.

He was found to be unconscious and was and taken to hospital where he died the next day. He was suffering from a fractured right arm and head injuries and died from laceration of the brain and other injuries.

He was the licensee at the Borough Hotel on Halstead Street in Burnley.

His wife, who identified his body, said that on the Tuesday night she had retired to bed at about 10.45pm, leaving him downstairs which was quite normal as she often left him reading downstairs. She said that he was in his usual health and made no complaints but she did not hear him go to bed and when she woke in the morning there were no signs that he had been to bed.

Shortly after she got up a barman told her that he had gone to the station.

She said that she was later told that there had been an accident on the railway and that Herbert Thompson had been taken to the hospital. she went to see him in the afternoon and again in the evening. He died the next morning.

The court heard that in December 1924 Herbert Thompson had engaged a young woman that the Borough Hotel who he had later discharged in August 1925. A month after she left there were rumours that she was in a certain condition and she later gave birth to a child.

In February 1926 Herbert Thompson's wife said that she met the girl at the Albion Hotel where she was then working and that the girl told her that Herbert Thompson was responsible for her condition. She then took the girl to see Herbert Thompson and she repeated her claim which Herbert Thompson flatly denied.

Herbert Thompson had received a summons to attend court in respect of the child on the Wednesday morning, however, he had not told his wife. The summons had been served to him on 17 May 1926.

The case was however adjourned for a week and it was thought that the reason was not because Herbert Thompson had been found on the railway line as it was thought that the police did not know that at the time, about 10am. It was noted that his train ticket was issues between 6.30am and 8.00am and that the incident had happened at 8.15am.

A man at the Coroner's court said that he understood that the case was adjourned because there was no corroboration of the girl's charge but the Coroner said that he didn't see how that affected the inquest.

His wife said that she had not heard that Herbert Thompson had engaged any solicitor in the case and suggested that he might have been going to Blackburn to do so.

She also said that he had had a very bad cough for some time and that when it was at its worst it lasted sometimes for three-quarters of an hour before he recovered and that sometimes he had to run out of the room in order to get some fresh air as quickly as possible. she then suggested that he might have opened the carriage door in order to get some fresh air whilst travelling.

The Coroner concluded that there was not enough evidence to support the case that he had committed suicide and that the fact that he had a police case against him in the court was not enough. He also said that there was not enough evidence to suggest that his death had been accidental because all the carriage doors were quite clear and closed when it had arrived in Padiham.

An open verdict was returned.


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


see Burnley Express - Saturday 29 May 1926

see Burnley Express - Saturday 05 June 1926