Unsolved Murders

Joseph Douglas Corrigan

Age: 55

Sex: male

Date: 6 May 1934

Place: Back Dock Chambers, Dock Street, Fleetwood

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Joseph Douglas Corrigan died after he was alledged to have fallen down some stairs onto his face on 6 May 1934.

An open verdict was returned after it was heard that a witness had said that they had heard a row between him and his wife and her son.

He had just married a woman on 14 January 1934 that he had been living with for 17 years.

At the time of their marriage his wife's son had been living with him and the woman he married, but the son went off two days after the marriage but came back about two weeks before Joseph Corrigan died.

His wife denied that she or her son had had a row around the time and said that he had fallen down some stairs.

Joseph Corrigan was seen on the Monday in Fleetwood police station by a constable there who said that Joseph Corrigan said to him, 'This is what I get for bailing out my wife's son this morning'. The constable said that Joseph Corrigan later said, 'I have been fighting a man on the dock, but I will not tell you who it was'.

On 30 April 1934, Joseph Corrigan, his wife and her son were upstairs on the second floor of the building where they lived at dinner time after which Joseph Corrigan's wife and her son went out shopping, leaving Joseph Corrigan at home. They said that when they got back Joseph Corrigan was quite alright.

His wife said that on the Wednesday they were all in the living room when Joseph Corrigan went downstairs with a jug of water. She said that her son was with her at the time and that they then heard a thud and that her son then went downstairs and brought Joseph Corrigan back up. She said that Joseph Corrigan said that he had fallen down the stairs. She added that she didn't think that he was quite sober. The Coroner then interrupted her and told her that she had told the police that Joseph Corrigan had been sober and asked her which one it was and Joseph Corrigan's wife replied, 'I am not sure whether he was or not'. The Coroner then said, 'You have lived with him for 17 years, you ought to know by this time', and Joseph Corrigan's wife replied, 'He may have had a couple, but he seemed to be sober'.

Joseph Corrigan's wife said that Joseph Corrigan then complained of a hurt thigh and a pain in his right side, and said that half an hour later his eyes became black. She said that she then put him to bed and bathed his sore parts. She said that he again complained of pain during the night and said that she then called for a doctor on the Thursday who she said told Joseph Corrigan to stop in bed. However, she said that he didn't and got up on the Friday to draw his dole, noting that she and her son went with him.

She said that when they returned, Joseph Corrigan complained again of pains in his side and went back to bed, assisted by her and her son. She said that she was up all night with him and that at 11.30am on the Monday morning he became very ill and so she went to fetch him some drink but said that when she returned he was dead.

At the inquest Joseph Corrigan's wife said that her son had left them two days after she and Joseph Corrigan got married but said that he had returned about two weeks before Joseph Corrigan died.

When the Coroner asked Joseph Corrigan's wife if Joseph Corrigan had fallen down the stairs before she said that he had fallen down before about four months earlier but said that he had not fallen down the stairs on the day that her son arrived home.

She also said that Joseph Corrigan had said something about being struck lately, but said that she didn't know who had struck him. She said that Joseph Corrigan had complained about being struck on the Monday week, the day that her son had come home, and said that his eyes were black. The Coroner then asked if they were black two days after that and Joseph Corrigan's wife said that they were and that after he fell down the stairs they seemed to go blacker.

At the inquest, the Coroner asked Joseph Corrigan's wife whether Joseph Corrigan was always fighting, and Joseph Corrigan's wife said that he was.

Another woman who was also a tenant in Back Dock Chambers said that Joseph Corrigan and his wife had lived with her and that the son had also lived with them until about two days after Joseph Corrigan and his wife were married. She said that after leaving court on the last Monday week, all three of them had come in together and that they were all shouting and so she went to fetch a policeman. She said that she went out and when she returned at 4pm she found a lot of water on the floor in the kitchen, but said that she didn't see Joseph Corrigan. She said that she saw Joseph Corrigan on the Tuesday 1 May, with two black eyes.

When the Coroner summed up he said that the evidence was entirely unsatisfactory, and an open verdict was returned.

Joseph Corrigan was a seaman.


see Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Thursday 10 May 1934

see Lancashire Evening Post - Tuesday 08 May 1934

see Lancashire Evening Post - Wednesday 09 May 1934