Unsolved Murders

Laura Millicent Benson

Age: 18

Sex: female

Date: 24 Jul 1929

Place: Bedford Road, Bootle

Laura Millicent Benson died from arsenic poisoning.

It was said that she had swallowed the arsenic about ten to fourteen days before her death but it could not be determined how it came to be administered.

At the time she was said to have taken the poison she had been confined to her bed with an illness and would not have had the strength to have gotten out of bed.

The inquest heard that the bottle of medicine that she had did have some arsenic in it but that even if she had drunk all of it, it would not have been enough to have killed her.

A City Analyst who examined her said that the quantity of arsenic in her body was two-fifths to one-half of a grain and that the quantity of arsenic taken must have been more than two grains, which was a fatal dose. He said that the fact that arsenic was found in her nails and hair showed that it was taken at least ten days before she died.

Analysis of a quantity of fruit salts that she had been taking was found to be free from arsenic and it was noted that the paper from the walls in her room contained only a minute quantity.

Her father said that in 1928 Laura Benson had been working at a fruiterer's shop when she had suffered from a slight swelling in her neck that was diagnosed as goitre. He said that the swelling became larger and in March 1929 she complained of feeling ill. He said that she gradually got worse and became emaciated and then on 24 June 1929 she was taken to the Stanley Hospital where she died on 24 July 1929.

He said that she had taken to her bed in April 1929 and that the food she had eaten had been shared by other family members. He also said that he did not know of any friend that had been asked to bring her any quack medicine.

He said that before her death she had looked 20 years older and said that her face was drawn and shrunk.

He said that as a result of her death he had received £13 in insurance money.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Friday 26 July 1929