Unsolved Murders

Annie Haughney

Age: 21

Sex: female

Date: 21 Jul 1931

Place: Marylebone Road, London

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Annie Haughney was found impaled on railings outside a hotel in Marylebone Road in London.

He was taken to the Paddington Infirmary but later died from septicaemia.

Her death was brought up in the House of Commons when a member of parliament for Lichfield asked the Home Secretary if his attention had been brought to her case and whether he would instruct the police to make full inquiries.

Annie Haughney was Irish and had come to London on 21 July 1931 to find a situation and had booked into the hotel on Marylebone Road.

A man that had been staying in the hotel on the third floor next to Annie Haughney, but asked that his name not be disclosed, said that at about 6am he heard shouts on the stairs and the sound of a frightened female voice. He said that he went out and then heard that Annie Haughney had fallen out of the window.

The man said that when he looked out of the window he saw Annie Haughney impaled on the railings and two policemen. He said that he then went downstairs where he saw the landlady and two men (thought to be the landladies husband and his brother-in-law) and said that when he tried to open the door one of the two men said, 'If you don't go back again up these ---- stairs, I will knock your ---- head off'. He said that the two men then came up to his room and said, 'Keep inside and say nothing'.

A woman that was a part owner of the hotel said that Annie Haughney came to the hotel on 21 July 1931 and booked a room and that the next morning she was found dead on the railings outside.

The woman's husband said that Annie Haughney had paid 5 shillings for her room and had said that she was going to Euston the next day. He said that he was woken up in the morning by his wife and saw that Annie Haughney was impaled on the railings. He said that afterwards he went upstairs and asked a man there to stay in his room and keep the door closed. He said that he had been in the hall with his brother-in-law at the time and denied that he had used the words that the hotel guest had alleged the two men had said to him.

Annie Haughney was taken to hospital where amongst her possessions she was found to have had £3 2s 8.5d in Irish money and 1s 0.5d in English coins.

The police said that during their investigations they found that the hotel was a resort of women who took men there.

At her inquest, the Coroner noted that when she was found she had had on her gloves and had been carrying her handbag and a parcel which he said indicated that she had not committed suicide. He added that people did not retain their possessions in general when they threw themselves under trains or out of windows. He also noted that Annie Haughney had made plans to visit Euston later that day which further made the likelihood of suicide unlikely. He also noted that Annie Haughney had come from Ireland with £10 and that earlier that morning had bought a dress and that she still had £3 left and was as such by no means down and out.

The Coroner said that Annie Haughney might have fallen out of the window accidently or that she might have jumped out to commit suicide or that in the apprehension that she was in danger from some person who was molesting her had jumped out. He also added that she might have jumped out in a moment of wild panic thinking that she was locked in or that she was about to be assaulted when there was no likelihood of that.

The Coroner however also noted that he had seen the landing window, which was said to have been open at the time, at the hotel and did not hesitate to say that it was impossible for her to have fallen out of it accidently. He said that it could be possible for a person to accidently fall out of the bedroom window but to do so a person would need to have pulled a dressing table away from in front of it and that if she had fallen out of the bedroom window accidently then who shut the window and put the dressing table back? He said that he had seen the window and had seen a mark outside of it on the stonework that he thought had been made by Annie Haughney's foot. As such, he said that he was quite satisfied that she had fallen out of the bedroom window. He also said that the window in the room directly below had been broken as though it had been kicked and that a piece of glass was found inside the room on the bed.

The Coroner concluded that the closing of the bedroom window and the replacement of the dressing table showed that someone knew quite well that Annie Haughney had gone out of that window and that they had been concealing the fact.

A nurse at a hospital opposite the hotel said that she had seen Annie Haughney standing at the window sideways, facing the door, and talking to somebody. She said that she had seen Annie Haughney at the window fully dressed at 6am and wearing her gloves. She said 'As I left my patients room I saw she was opening the window. I heard a crash and went back into the room and saw the girl impaled on the railings. I looked up at the window. The bedroom window was shut and a lady and a gentleman were looking out of the landing window.'. She said that the gentleman looked very much like the man that had been staying in the room next to Annie Haughney's and who had asked for his name not to be mentioned.

The nurse said that she was not close enough to see Annie Haughney's expression but said that she had looked normal.

A policeman that arrived at the scene whilst Annie Haughney was still conscious said that Annie Haughney said 'I was looking out of the window for some time. I don't know how I fell out. No one else was in there with me'.

At the Paddington Infirmary, a ward attendant said that Annie Haughney told her that she had been walking along Marylebone Road when a man had followed her. She said that Annie Haughney then told her that she went into her hotel room but then later said that she wanted to get some fresh air and went out of the hotel again but that the man was still there waiting in the street and so she had come back into the hotel again.

It was noted that Annie Haughney had been assaulted some time before the fall but that because of the amount of time between her fall and the case coming to the Coroner, the Coroner said that he was unable to say when that had been. He said that she might have been assaulted that morning, or she might not.

It was also heard that Annie Haughney had not said anything about what had happened when she was taken to the hospital which it was said could have been put down to a form of innate modesty.

The Coroner recorded and open verdict stating that Annie Haughney had died from septicaemia following injuries received when she fell from a window and was impaled on some railings outside a hotel in Marylebone Road noting that there was not sufficient evidence to show how she had fallen from the window.


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


see Sheffield Daily Telegraph - Friday 02 October 1931

see The Scotsman - Thursday 08 October 1931

see Northern Whig - Saturday 05 September 1931

see Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Friday 02 October 1931

see Belfast News-Letter - Friday 18 September 1931