Unsolved Murders

Arthur Lionel Townsend

Age: 39

Sex: male

Date: 14 Apr 1931

Place: Hemel Hempstead

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Arthur Lionel Townsend died from salt of mercury poisoning.

He was found staggering along a road in Hemel Hempstead in a dazed condition and was taken to St Thomas's Hospital but died before arriving.

His post-mortem revealed that he had three quarters of a grain of salt of mercury in his system. The medical dose was one-sixteenth of a grain.

A doctor said that it was very unusual to find mercury in all the organs.

It was thought that the dose he had taken was a small dose if it was considered that he had intended to take his own life, in which instance it was suggested that a larger dose would have been used.

It was also heard that he had no injury to his gullet or stomach from taking the poison and as such it seemed obvious that the mercury had been taken in a very dilute form.

It was suggested that he might have been feeling ill and administered himself a dilute preparation of mercury but that he might have taken more than he had intended, although it was noted that that was pure conjecture.

A verdict that death was due to mercury poison but that there was no evidence to show how or why the poison was taken, was recorded at the inquest in Lambeth.

He was a radiographer and had lived in Kingsway, Wembley.


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


see Dundee Evening Telegraph - Tuesday 14 April 1931

see Sheffield Independent - Wednesday 15 April 1931

see Warwick and Warwickshire Advertiser - Saturday 18 April 1931