Unsolved Murders

Gwendoline Fyson

Age: 28

Sex: female

Date: 11 Dec 1931

Place: River Medway, Tonbridge

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Gwendoline Fyson was found dead in the River Medway.

Her death was attributed to shock from sudden immersion in cold water and an open verdict was returned.

She had lived on Sutton Lane in London, W4.

Her mother said that she last saw her at about 6.30am on the Thursday when she spoke to her and then heard her leave the house and when looking out of the window saw her walking off along the street. She said that Gwendoline Fyson frequently went for a walk in the morning and thought that she was coming back. However, she later found that Gwendoline Fyson had taken a bag with some toilet necessities and some money. She said that she didn't report Gwendoline Fyson's absence to the police as she would sometimes go away although she said that she mostly stated her intention when stopping out.

She said that Gwendoline Fyson had some friends in Tonbridge with whom she had stayed with before.

She said that Gwendoline Fyson was a healthy girl but noted that she had had a shock twelve months earlier that had unsettled her. She said that cold water had always fascinated Gwendoline Fyson.

A man that lived at River Walk in Tonbridge said that he was working in his boathouse on the Friday when Gwendoline Fyson came to the door and said, 'My feet ache. Do you mind if I bathe them in the river?'. He said that he said 'No, not at all. Would you like a towel?'. He also said that he told her that if she went towards the corner she would find a landing stage which was more or less private and said that she went off in that direction and that was the last he saw of her.

He said that an hour later a man came to the door and said 'They will want your help down below. There is a body in the river.'. The man said that he got his punt out and went over to Tumbling Bay, which was also known as Buley's Weir, where he helped to pull out her body.

He said that he had not recognised the body as being that of Gwendoline Fyson, who had asked him about bathing in the river and realised that he had not seen her and so he went off to the landing stage where he said he saw a pair of shoes, two pairs of stockings, a coat, a handbag and an umbrella which he said he recognised as belonging to Gwendoline Fyson, who he had seen earlier.

He also said that he would have heard her if she had called out but that he heard nothing.

The manager of the Tonbridge cinema said that he helped to pull Gwendoline Fyson out of the water to Deans Landing stage. He said that she had her hat on but was not wearing a skirt and had been wearing only a very thin blouse.

A woman said that Gwendoline Fyson had come to her house on Thursday 3 December 1931 and asked for a bed-sitting room but she said that because she had no luggage with her and was wearing glasses she was a bit dubious at first. She said that Gwendoline Fyson told her that she was tired and wanted somewhere quiet to stay. She said that Gwendoline Fyson told her that she was of independent means and had come from Chiswick and that she wanted to stay for some considerable time. She said that Gwendoline Fyson told her that she would be fetching her luggage in a few days time. She said that when she asked Gwendoline Fyson why she was wearing dark glasses Gwendoline Fyson had replied 'Why? do you think I am in disguise?', and said that she replied 'Well, you never know'.

The woman said that Gwendoline Fyson appeared quite normal the next morning and she gave her a quantity of hot water to bathe in. She said that she didn't seem a bit excited, depressed or worried. She said that Gwendoline Fyson told her that she had had a nervous breakdown that had left her weak in the legs. She said that she later found that Gwendoline Fyson had gone out.

A doctor that carried out her post-mortem said that death was due to shock from sudden immersion in cold water and noted that she had not breathed after she had got into the water. He also said that there was nothing to suggest that she had taken any poison.

The Coroner said that there were various inconsistencies with some of the points and returned an open verdict saying that there was no evidence to say how she had got into the water.


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


see Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser - Friday 11 December 1931

see Kent & Sussex Courier - Friday 11 December 1931