Unsolved Murders

Stuart Christian Tinne

Age: 22

Sex: male

Date: 2 Mar 1918

Place: Room 73, Hotel Imperial, Hythe

Stuart Christian Tinne was found dead at the Hotel Imperial in Hythe.

A verdict of misadventure was returned.

He was found lying on the floor, partly dressed with an elastic band, 2 or 3 inches in width, around his neck.

His death was stated as being due to suffocation.

He was thought to have died about five or six hours before he was found.

He was from Farnham and had been a Captain in the Royal West Kent Regiment but was at the time attached to the Royal Flying Corp.

His batman said that he last saw him on Thursday 1 March 1918 at about midday. He said that he went to his room the following morning at about 7.45am and gave his usual knock and went into his room. He said that the door was self-locking and that the key was on the outside.

He said that when he went in he found Stuart Tinne on the floor by the foot of his bed absolutely naked with the exception of something on his head and something else round his neck. He said that he then went and called for assistance.

The items on Stuart Tinne's head were later determined to have been a wig and an elastic bandage. Stuart Tinne had been fond of amateur theatricals and was the Secretary to the Officers' Entertainment Company and also the property master of the Company and much of the property, as well as photographic accessories of which he had charge were in his room

When the room was examined it was found to have been in general good order and it was thought that the wig had come from a box with other theatrical property. It was as such suggested that Stuart Tinne had retired to his room and then put his portmanteaux for travelling in order and then undressed, and then, before putting on his pyjamas had tried on the wig. It was said that he had evidently dressed as some character in a play, as a parson or something else, and, requiring something to complete the make up, he had put the rubber bandage around his neck for want of anything better at the time. It was said that the bandage had then undoubtedly tightened and that whilst making his way from the mirror on one side of the room to the door on the other he had lost consciousness and fallen to the floor. It was also suggested that when he had put on the wig he had had a sheet or some loose garment on that had also fallen off when he had fallen. It was also noted that the bandage was not tied.

It was said that Stuart Tinne had probably had no intention of taking his own life. It was also noted that if he had intended to take his own life he would have probably used some other method as he had access to revolvers and chemicals. It was also suggested that if he had been insane then he would not have made such complete arrangements for taking his leave as he had done.

A Lieutenant said that he had been with Stuart Tinne for the whole of the Thursday evening from 5pm until 11.15pm when Stuart Tinne had gone upstairs to bed. He said that Stuart Tinne had been very happy throughout the evening and they had in fact prepared and printed the programme for dinner which was done in Stuart Tinne's room. He said that throughout the whole of the process Stuart Tinne had been very jolly and said that he had been pleased with his new appointment. He also said that the Officer's Concert Party had arranged to give a concert the following Wednesday in connection with the Congregational Church and said that Stuart Tinne had expressed his regret that he could not be present because he would be away on leave at the time.

He said that he knew of no reason why Stuart Tinne would want to take his life and said that he was the last man that he would have thought would do such a thing.

He said that Stuart Tinne was exceptionally smart and used to paint scenery for their entertainments and was absorbed in all matters relating to the stage professionally. He also said that Stuart Tinne was brilliant in many respects and was a successful song writer and that they had collaborated in writing a new five act revue, the manuscript for which was still in Stuart Tinne's room. The Lieutenant noted that when Stuart Tinne was not on duty or acting with the theatrical company he was always writing new songs or something of the kind.

The policeman that found Stuart Tinne's body said that he was lying at the foot of his bed and that the rubber band was wound five or six times round his neck and that the ends of it were hanging down in front like a parson's stole. He also said that the wig was partly down his face which at the time was turning black when he first saw it.

A medical officer said that the rubber bandage was constricting the vessels of Stuart Tinne's neck and that his mouth had been open as though he had been gasping for breath. He said that it was quite possible that Stuart Tinne had put on the new wig in front of the mirror and for some reason wound the rubber bandage around his neck, perhaps to make his appearance more effective and that the inner layers of the bandage would have naturally tightened even though he might have been endeavouring to loosen the outer ones, and that he might have then made a quick dart for the door and collapsed. He noted that he did not give him half a minute.

His cause of death was given as suffocation and the jury returned the verdict that he had died from misadventure.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Birmingham Mail - Friday 01 March 1918

see Globe - Friday 01 March 1918

see Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate & Cheriton Herald - Saturday 02 March 1918

see Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 09 March 1918

see Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate & Cheriton Herald - Saturday 09 March 1918