Unsolved Murders

Joan Dionysia Markwick

Age: 22

Sex: female

Date: 10 May 1934

Place: Upper Gloucester Place, Marylebone

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Joan Dionysia Markwick died in hospital from septicaemia following a miscarriage.

A nurse that had been friendly with Joan Markwick said that Joan Markwick had told her of her condition but had said that she was not worried because the man had plenty of money, and she was going to Paris.

The steward in the building in Upper Gloucester Place where Joan Markwick lived said that a woman aged 60 to 65, who usually carried a black bag, had visited Joan Markwick daily since 7 April 1934 until Joan Markwick had called in a doctor after which she said that she had not seen the lady again.

The inquest was adjourned whilst the police attempted to identify the mysterious, unknown woman, which they did. She was a 61-year-old woman who lived in Ratcliffe Buildings in Clerkenwell.

When the woman was brought to the inquest at a later date, she said that she had been to see Joan Markwick on five successive days. However, she said that she dealt in clothes and said that she didn't know about Joan Markwick's condition.

The woman said that her husband was a maker of instruments but had been out of work for about four or five years and drew the dole. She said that her son also helped her with 10s a week. She said that she didn't advertise her business and kept no books.

When the woman was asked when she first saw Joan Markwick, she said that she first saw her on 7 April 1934 outside her door, noting that she had never seen her before.

When the Coroner asked her if there was any sign outside her door saying that she was a dealer in second-hand clothes, the woman said that there was not. The woman said that Joan Markwick then asked if she was a clothes dealer and said that she had some clothes to sell.

The Coroner then asked her if it was a long way from Ratcliffe Buildings to Upper Gloucester Place and the woman said that it was, noting that it was a three-penny ride.

The woman said that she went to Upper Gloucester Place on the same night, but said that she didn't buy any clothes from her as the things that she had showed her were not suitable. She added that she had taken her handbag with her which had only contained some handkerchiefs and cigarettes and matches, and said that there were no instruments in the bag.

When the Coroner asked the woman if she had ever been a midwife, the woman said that she had not.

The Coroner then noted that she had been to see Joan Markwick on the Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and asked her why she had gone every day until she died and the woman said that Joan Markwick had told her that she would look over her wardrobe to see if she had other clothes to sell, but said that there was nothing doing after Monday but that she had continued to go and see Joan Markwick because Joan Markwick had asked her to have a cup of tea with her and because Joan Markwick liked her company. She denied that she had ever been to see Joan Markwick twice in one day.

The woman said that she went to see Joan Markwick on the Thursday because she had promised to bring Joan Markwick some stockings that she could sell her. She said that when she was told that the doctor was upstairs with Joan Markwick that she went upstairs and waited outside her door for five to ten minutes, but that she then left as she could not wait any longer.

The Coroner then asked the woman why she didn't go back on the Friday and the woman said that she didn't because she had had a chill. When the Coroner asked her why she didn't go back again afterwards, the woman said that she had not been well enough.

When the Coroner asked the woman if she knew that Joan Markwick had died, she said that she didn't.

The woman went on to say that she never telephoned Joan Markwick to enquire how she was and never received any note or letter delivered by hand telling her not to ring up again. She said that in the five days that she had visited Joan Markwick, she had not bought or sold a single article.

When the Coroner summed up, he said that Joan Markwick had lived alone and that when she had found herself in a certain condition, she had become anxious to get rid of her trouble. He said that Joan Markwick had told a friend what steps she had taken and mentioned that she had also taken drugs.

When the Coroner mentioned the woman, he said that she had called at Joan Markwick's flat every day from the Saturday until the day of Joan Markwick's death the following Thursday and noted that not a single transaction in the nature of buying or selling of old clothes had taken place between them. The Coroner said that there must have been some urgent reason for the daily visits and stated the that the woman wanted him to believe that it was because of a friendship between her, aged 61 and Joan Markwick, aged 22 who had met as perfect strangers on the previous Saturday.

The Coroner said, 'When I hear of a sinister figure flitting backwards and forwards for some unknown purpose every day for five days prior to this young woman's death, I begin to wonder whether she is telling the truth. I wonder what was in that black bag and what took place in that room between her and Miss Markwick?'.

The Coroner went on to say that the case bristled with suspicion so far as the woman was concerned but said that there was ultimately no evidence obtainable as to whether Joan Markwick's death was or was not brought about by herself, and an open verdict was recorded.

Joan Markwick was a telephone operator.


see Illustrated Police News - Thursday 10 May 1934

see Illustrated Police News - Thursday 26 April 1934

see Western Daily Press - Tuesday 17 April 1934

see Western Daily Press - Tuesday 01 May 1934

see West London Observer - Friday 04 May 1934