Date: 6 Mar 1933
Place: Stretton Sugwas, Hereford
Tracey Joshua Baldwin was found dead in an outhouse on 6 March 1933.
When he was found he had an injury to the back of his head and a piece of his cheek missing and a small wound to his chin.
His death was said to have been caused by concussion but the coroner’s jury found that there was no definite evidence to show what had caused the concussion.
The police said that they thought that he had collapsed from a heart attack and fallen and hit his head and that he had then died from concussion and that after he had died rats had caused the deep wound that was found on his face. They wound to his face was said to have not been sufficient in itself to have caused death.
When he was first found an appeal was broadcasted for motorists that had been in the vicinity before 3.15pm on the Sunday 5 March 1933 when Tracey Baldwin was last seen alive, but none of them could throw any light on the cause of his death.
The doctor that carried out the post-mortem said that the wound to his cheek was unusually severe and looked as though it had been caused by a blow struck from the front either by a sharp or blunt instrument moving quickly. However, he said that after having considered the injuries he was of the opinion that in view of the absence of blood on Tracey Baldwin's hands and clothes that the wound to his cheek could only be explained by it having been caused after his death.
However, he added that he found nothing to suggest that Tracey Baldwin had had a heart attack although he could not exclude that possibility.
He also said that he found it difficult to believe that rats could have caused the wound to his cheek so soon after his death.
At the inquest the police produced a swede that had been gnawed by rats and said that the cavity in the swede was similar to the wound on Tracey Baldwin’s cheek. The Chief Constable said, 'I am absolutely convinced that the wound was caused by rats'. He also said that he was convinced that there had been no foul play.
He had lived in Stretton Sugwas and was a farm labourer.
see Leeds Mercury - Tuesday 07 March 1933
see Birmingham Daily Gazette - Wednesday 22 March 1933
see Daily Herald - Wednesday 08 March 1933