Unsolved Murders

Doris Ruth Simmons

Age: 39

Sex: female

Date: 13 Dec 1928

Place: Gracedale Road, Streatham

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Doris Ruth Simmons died from an illegal operation.

A doctor from Tooting was tried for her manslaughter but acquitted.

The inquest into her death heard that she didn't want another child for reasons to do with her work as a headmistress. She was married and already had two children, one aged eight and the other aged fourteen and lived in Streatham.

Her husband said that he got a medical certificate from the doctor stating that she was suffering from influenza and rheumatism and was sent to the acting mistress. The Corner said 'That was not true was it?' He then said to him 'Are you frightened? No one is making any charges against you'. He asked the husband what was said between him and the doctor but the husband said that he could not remember and the Coroner said 'You are a muddle-headed kind of person, are you?'.

It was then heard that a second certificate was given by the doctor stating that Doris Simmons had gastric enteritis.

When the Coroner asked the doctor when he first saw Doris Simmons the doctor said 'I have no record of seeing her except from what I have heard her husband say', and the Coroner said 'Then the answer is Friday, 23 November. He then asked her what Doris Simmons said to him and he said that she told him that she was aching all over and that he wrote her a prescription and gave her a bottle of medicine and that that was all. When asked he added that the prescription was lost noting that 'leaflets do go astray'.

The Coroner then asked where the prescription was and the doctor told him that it was mislaid. The Coroner then asked the doctor when he saw Doris Simmons next but the doctor said that he could not remember. The Coroner suggested that the reason that he didn't visit Doris Simmons was because he wanted to keep in the background, but the doctor denied that.

He denied using any instrument.

The Coroner asked the doctor about the nurse that he had called in for Doris Simmons, and the inquest heard that she was a cook that the doctor had known for 20 years. The Coroner then said ''Did you select as nurse a cook you had known for 20 years in order to keep dark what the real position of Mrs Simmons was? but the doctor said no.

A Home Office senior analyst gave evidence at the inquest on certain pills that the doctor had given Doris Simmons and said that they were a dose of aloes. The Coroner asked if Doris Simmons had taken eleven of them whether they would bring about an abortion and the senior analyst said no.

The doctor was sent for trial for manslaughter but acquitted.


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


see Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Thursday 28 March 1929

see Western Daily Press - Monday 04 February 1929

see Sheffield Independent - Friday 21 December 1928

see The Scotsman - Monday 04 February 1929