Unsolved Murders

Walter Naylor

Age: 38

Sex: male

Date: 19 Jan 1913

Place: Ladybrook Lane, Mansfield

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Walter Naylor was found dead in a stream.

He was said to have drowned. There were no marks of violence on his body.

He was last seen on the night of 17 January 1913 when he left his lodgings in Pleasley Hill and went to the Royal Oak Hotel in Mansfield where he had a pint of beer and took another pint away with him.

He was found dead two days later by two boys on the Sunday 19 January 1913 around noon in the stream that ran through Ladybrook Lane in Mansfield in six inches of water.

The two boys had been walking along the shallow stream and saw what they thought was a bag lying in the water, but when they went closer they found that it was a man and informed the police.

His landlady, with whom Walter Naylor had lodged for the previous six months, said that she last saw him at 5pm when he left for Mansfield saying that he would be back around midnight, saying that he was going out to buy some shirts. She said that she sat up for him until 1am but said that he didn’t come home.

She said that she didn't inform the police about his failure to return until the Monday as he was in the habit of going away at weekends and coming back on the Sunday. She said that she left the door unlocked on both nights.

She said that when he left, he had had £1 6s and noted that he was a heavy drinker on the weekends.

The landlord at the Royal Oak Hotel said that when Walter Naylor left on the night of 17 January 1913, he was sober. He said that when Walter Naylor came in he said, 'Fill me a pint of beer, I am starved to death'. The landlord noted that Walter Naylor had been shivering. He said that when Walter Naylor left, he told him that he was going to catch a car home and that he was going to go to work on the Saturday.

The landlord’s wife said that at Walter Naylor's request, she put a pint of beer in a bottle for him.

It was said to have been a foggy night.

The police said that when they went to the stream, they found Walter Naylor face down in the stream under some bushes at a spot where they said he would not have been seen from the road. They said that they found a tin on him with his charge ticket from the pit and a bottle but said that there was no money. They said that the ticket bore the date 17 August 1912. They said that the bottle broke as thy were taking his body out of the wat but said that it had only had a drop of water in it and that it had no cork.

When the landlady from the Royal Oak Hotel was recalled at the inquest, she said that Walter Naylor had certainly had money on him when he paid for his beer and left the pub.

The police said that Walter Naylor was dressed when they found him, but that they could not see his cap.

It was noted that the footpath was about fifty or sixty yards away from the stream and it was suggested that he might have taken a short cut to get to the lane, noting that he would have had to have crossed the brook which was about a yard wide and six inches deep. It was noted that there was a bank sloping about seven or eight feet downwards and that the hedge there was overgrown.

However, it was noted that if Walter Naylor had been going to Pleasley, then he was going right out of his road as the footpath led to Skegby Lane and the Isolation Hospital.

A policeman who knew Walter Naylor said that he thought that Walter Naylor would have been drunk saying that he had known him for 12 years and that he didn't think that he had been sober on a Friday or Saturday night in years, noting that he had been locked up many times and said that he hardly ever had any money on him. When he was reminded by the coroner that the landlady of the Royal Oak Hotel had said that Walter Naylor had had money on him when he had left, the policeman said that Walter Naylor might have spent more afterwards. He also said that he had found Walter Naylor lying in the gutter on many occasions.

A juryman noted that Walter Naylor might have laid down in the stream as Walter Naylor's head was out of the water and it didn't look as though it had been in.

A police inspector noted that there had previously been bad weather and said that he thought that there might have been more water in the brook before.

It was also suggested that Walter Naylor might have died from starvation.

An open verdict was returned, noting that he was found dead in the brook but that there was no evidence to show how he had got there.

He was a collier.


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


see Derbyshire Courier - Tuesday 04 February 1913, p5

see Mansfield Reporter - Friday 31 January 1913

see Sheffield Daily Telegraph - Monday 27 January 1913

see Sheffield Daily Telegraph - Tuesday 28 January 1913