Unsolved Murders

Lily Mary Bunting

Age: 43

Sex: female

Date: 21 Feb 1932

Place: River Wey, Burnham, Surrey

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Lily Mary Bunting was found dead in the River Wey at Burnham.

Her death was said to have not been due to drowning but due to alcohol poisoning as the amount of alcohol she had consumed was so great that she was practically so unconscious that she was unable to breath and therefore drowned without breathing in the water. However, she was not known to drink.

She was a widow and had lived in Aldershot Road in Guildford.

When she was found her body was almost unclothed.

She was last seen going out for an evening walk on 21 February 1932. When she had gone out she was said to have had a brown paper parcel with her. Her son said that he had gone out of the house for a few minutes and when he returned she was gone, but he said that she had told him earlier that she would be going for a walk.

At the inquest the Coroner stated that the analyst had stated that there was no evidence that Lily Bunting was addicted to alcohol and noted that no other poisons were found in her body.

Her son said that she didn't drink other than when cold or as a stimulant but said that she suffered from acute neurasthenia caused by mental strain.

She had left her husband in 1920 and in 1925 she went to Nottingham to work as a housekeeper. Later in 1928 she and her son went to live in Guildford where she acquired a house for which she was nominally the owner. Her son said that when she died she didn't leave a will and the payment of instalments on the house then ceased.

It was noted that when she had left the house there was no alcohol in the house and it was thought that the parcel she had taken out with her, which was wrapped in mauve paper, was not large enough to have contained any alcohol or a flask.

It was heard that the amount of spirit taken by her would have been at least a quarter of a pint at standard strength.

She had recently gone to Southsea for a change where she had stayed with her sister-in-law and had returned to Guildford the day before she vanished. Her son said that when she had returned she had seemed more cheerful than before.

He said that when he had left her before she vanished she had been fully dressed and had had her stick with her. He noted that she had left her handbag behind which had had 13s in it.


see Nottingham Journal - Thursday 28 April 1932

see The Scotsman - Thursday 14 April 1932

see Portsmouth Evening News - Wednesday 27 April 1932

see Hampshire Telegraph - Friday 15 April 1932