Unsolved Murders

Isabella Rowe

Age: 72

Sex: female

Date: 8 Feb 1921

Place: 403 High Street, Dysart, Kirkcaldy

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Isabella Rowe was found dead in her home on 10 February 1921.

Isabella Rowe was also known as Isabella Wilson.

A man was tried for her murder but the case against him was found not proven.

She had been assaulted and murdered on either the 8 or 9 February 1921.

Isabella Rowe's daughter said that Isabella Rowe had lived alone for about four or five years at 403 High Street, before which she had lived with her at 9 Albert Square in Dysart.

She said that Isabella Rowe had been married twice and that she was addicted to taking liquor. She said that she had an old age pension of 10s a week and that the last time that she had seen her alive was on 4 February 1921 when she had come to see her in Albert Square.

A millworker who lived at 92 High Street said that on 8 February 1921 she went to the Labour Exchange at Kirkcaldy and that afterwards she met another woman that lived at 403 High Street. She said that they went to a pub and then went to 403 High Street where they saw Isabella Rowe looking out of a window and said that after Isabella Rowe came down to the end of the close. she said then that two men came forward but that she didn't know either of them. She said that the other woman then went into a pork shop at 403 High Street and that the men then followed whilst she remained with Isabella Rowe at the end of the close. she said then that afterwards, she, Isabella Rowe and the other woman went up the close together and that the other women went off to her house which was further ben the close and that she then accompanied Isabella Rowe to her home.

She said that after they had been in Isabella Rowe's place for some time there was a knock at the door at the foot of the stairs and that Isabella Rowe looked out and found that there was a man there inquiring for a neighbour and that Isabella Rowe told the man that the neighbour was out. She said then that the man asked Isabella Rowe if he could come up to her house and that Isabella Rowe acquiesced. She said that the man was the man that was tried for her murder.

She said that he came in and sat down on a chair in front of the fire and then soon afterwards pulled out a bottle of whisky from his pocket. she said that when the bottle was opened they had 'just a wee drappie'.

The woman then said that Isabella Rowe suggested that they have a cup of tea and gave her half-a-crown to go and purchase some eatables. The woman said that she went off and came back with three pies and three scones. she said that after tea they had some more drinks from the bottle although she didn't take very much and that there was a little singing. she said that they sang 'Nearer, my God, to Thee', and that the man had started the singing and that he then asked her if she wanted to go for a walk with him but that she refused. She said that she then left the house. she said that during their time in the house up until she had left a little over half of the bottle of whisky had been consumed.

She said that when she called at Isabella Rowe's house the following afternoon she learned that Isabella Rowe was dead. She said that on 10 February 1921 she went to the Police Office where she identified the man that had been drinking with them. She said that she had never seen him before and that whilst she had been there he had behaved himself in a quiet manner.

Neighbours said that they heard footsteps descend her stairs twice that evening and then later heard footsteps ascend but not return.

She was found dead in her home the next day by neighbours. An empty bottle was found by her side along with two pieces of a stick which were later said to have been used to kill her.

In court, the man on trial gave evidence stating that after leaving Isabella Rowe's place he could not have returned.

He was found not guilty.


see Sunday Post - Sunday 13 February 1921

see Dundee Evening Telegraph - Tuesday 05 April 1921

see Dundee Evening Telegraph - Monday 14 February 1921

see Fife Free Press, & Kirkcaldy Guardian - Saturday 09 April 1921

see The Scotsman - Wednesday 06 April 1921