Date: 2 Jul 1912
Place: Bensham Road, Gateshead
Elizabeth Neil was found mummified at a house.
She had shared the house with her sister, who was two years older, and they had occupied the house for many years. They had previously worked in the dressmaking business.
A cousin said that she had last seen the sister in December 1911 but said that the sister had not allowed her to see Elizabeth Neil at that time. The cousin said that she had visited the sisters regularly until two and a half years earlier when Elizabeth Neil became ill, after which she said that the other sister would admit no one.
She said that the elder sister had a mania for washing and said that she was always washing when she called.
The discovery of Elizabeth Neil's body was made after bailiffs forced an entry into the house to levy distress for rent on the Tuesday 2 July 1912. When they gained entry, they found Elizabeth Neil's body laid out dead on an upstairs bed in a mummified condition.
The bailiffs said that when they got to the house the elder sister was very excited and told them that she would pay no rent to thieves.
A doctor who examined her body said that Elizabeth Neil's death must have occurred at least a year earlier and that she had been in a very emaciated condition when she had died. He said that she was wrapped up in a tablecloth. He said that the ski on her face was black and that the skin on her body was brown and that her eyes had disappeared. He said that there were no marks of violence. He added that he could not determine a cause of death.
He said that such mummification in England was rare.
It was said that the elder sister that had shared the house with Elizabeth Neil was not thought to have been in her right senses.
The coroner said that the case was one of the most extraordinary he had ever investigated but said that he didn't think that the elder sister had any active part in Elizabeth Neil's death.
An open verdict was returned.
see Longford Journal - Saturday 13 July 1912
see Dundee Courier - Friday 05 July 1912
see Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail - Friday 05 July 1912
see Buckingham Express - Saturday 13 July 1912