Date: 16 Aug 1934
Place: Fulwood Place, Holborn
Mary Anne Davidson was found dead on the doorstep of a building in Fulwood Place, Holborn on 16 August 1934 shortly before 9pm.
It was found that she had died from an internal wound.
A herbalist was tried for her murder but acquitted, although he was convicted of attempting to commit suicide.
The herbalist had an office in Cromwell house in Fulwood Place and said that he ran a mail order business.
Another man that also worked in Cromwell House said that he left his office just before 9pm on the Thursday and said that after walking only a few yards in the direction of Holborn he saw a woman lying on some front steps. He said that he first thought that she was drunk and so went back to Cromwell House and informed the herbalist and then went to call the police.
The police found a medical prescription in her room that was signed by the herbalist and it was heard that Mary Davidson had been a customer of his.
It was heard that an appointment had been made by letter for Mary Davidson to call on the herbalist on the afternoon of her death, but the herbalist said that she didn't turn up. She was found in a doorway about 30 yards from the herbalist’s office in Fulwood Place, Holborn later that day.
Mary Davidson had lived in Lauriston Road in Hackney and was a laundry manageress.
When the herbalist was charged he said, 'I didn't do it. That's all'. He said that he hadn't seen her anywhere on the day she died.
After being charged he attempted to gas himself. Although he was later acquitted of the murder of Mary Davidson, he was convicted of attempted suicide, although was only sentenced to eight days which meant that he was immediately discharged after the trial.
He had lived in Hampton Road in Forest Gate and was found gassed on 28 August 1934. A letter he sent to the Coroner read, 'Dear Sir, By the time this reaches you I hope to have gone out of this world. I cannot stand the strain of this awful worry. I have nothing to do with Mrs Davidson's affair'.
At his trial it was heard that the herbalist was practically destitute and he asked the magistrate if he could be granted a certificate for legal assistance.
The prosecution set out to prove that Mary Davidson had been to the herbalists in Fulwood Place on the night of 16 August 1934 and presented a number of articles, including a rug, a red blanket, a woman's jacket and a pair of shoes. It was then stated that 30 horse wool hairs found on the back of Mary Davidson's jacket, when examined under a microscope, were found to be similar to those from the rug from the herbalist’s office. It was then stated that the condition of the jacket was consistent with Mary Davidson having lain on the rug. However, in cross-examination, the expert agreed that the rug was fairly common and could be bought anywhere.
A witness for the defence said that no woman had been seen enquiring after the herbalist at his office on 16 August 1934. It was heard that there had been two girls on duty while office staff had been working in the building at the time.
The defence also said that if the herbalist had carried Mary Davidson out of the building into the street then he would have been seen.
see Gloucester Citizen - Wednesday 24 October 1934
see Western Morning News - Wednesday 24 October 1934
see Illustrated Police News - Thursday 11 October 1934
see Western Daily Press - Thursday 30 August 1934
see Daily Herald - Friday 07 September 1934
see Gloucester Citizen - Friday 07 September 1934
see Western Daily Press - Thursday 13 September 1934
see Daily Herald - Thursday 13 September 1934, (includes photo of herbalist)