Unsolved Murders

Sydney Nowill

Age: unknown

Sex: female

Date: 23 Nov 1912

Place: Newquay, Cornwall

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Sydney Nowill was found dead in the sea.

Shortly after, on the morning of Monday 25 November 1912, a man that Sydney Nowill had been seeing at the hotel was found hanged in his room behind his door.

Sydney Nowill had been staying at the Atlantic Hotel in Newquay at the time, from where she vanished. She had gone there with her mother. She was later found in the sea just below the Atlantic Hotel under the old Huer's House amongst the rocks and breakers, about ten days later on 3 December 1912 at about 3pm.

Whilst at the Atlantic Hotel they had met another guest, a retired solicitor of Singapore who they had previously met on a journey to Egypt, and who was later found hanged from his door there. However, at the inquest, it was heard that the man had caused Sydney Nowill to leave the hotel. The Coroner said that there was no shadow of doubt that the man had behaved in a heartless and cruel manner to Sydney Nowill and that he was sure that the man had caused Sydney Nowill to leave the hotel on the night that she vanished.

Sydney Nowill and the man had been out together on Saturday 23 November 1912 and had returned to the hotel at about 4.45pm. A coastguard said that at about 3.45pm on the Saturday 23 November 1912 he had seen a lady and a gentleman walking towards the lifeboat house. He said that through his glass he could see the gentleman walk a few yards and then take hold of the lady’s hand, but said that she would push him away, and said that he had the impression that they were having an altercation.

Sydney Nowill was missed later on that day. It was thought that she had gone out in her golfing clothes and that she had made no preparations for a journey.

The man that they had been friends with at the hotel was said to have been distraught at her disappearance, and it was said that whilst out late with a Lieutenant in the Coastguard looking for Sydney Nowill, he had raised his stick to him and said, 'You must do something or I will kill you'. It was said that he later attempted to throw himself over a cliff but that the Lieutenant in the Coastguard had restrained him after a desperate struggle. However, he later that night hung himself in his hotel room.

The doctor said that there were no signs of violence on her body and that she had gone into the water alive and had died from drowning.

Her husband said that he could not account for the affair in any way and added that he had had absolute faith in his wife.

At the inquest, it was heard that the man that had been staying at the hotel had left Sydney Nowill £30,000 in his will.

An open verdict of found drowned was returned at her inquest.


see Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Wednesday 04 December 1912

see Wigan Observer and District Advertiser - Saturday 07 December 1912

see Sheffield Daily Telegraph - Friday 29 November 1912

see Dublin Daily Express - Tuesday 03 December 1912

see Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal - Friday 06 December 1912