Unsolved Murders

Joseph Phillips

Age: 76

Sex: male

Date: 14 Aug 1935

Place: 11 Belmont Passage, Cowley Street

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Joseph Phillips had a neck wound and a fractured breast bone.

Neighbours said that they had heard quarrels between him and his wife.

An open verdict was returned after it was heard that there was insufficient evidence to show how he came by his injuries.

His wife said that Joseph Phillips had suffered from the effects of a stroke and had not been able to go far from the house. She said that on 17 July 1935 she had gone out to work and that when she got back he told her that he had been manhandled.

He was admitted unconscious to the hospital where it was found that he had a triangular wound to his chest and marks like bruising on both of his arms.

His post-mortem revealed that he had a commuted fracture of the breast bone.

A neighbour said that she didn't think that Joseph Phillips would fall about when he was alone and it was heard that the neighbour’s were afraid to do him a good turn as they said that his wife would lash out at them. The neighbour said that they would continually quarrel, particularly on Sundays and said that she had heard Joseph Phillips call out before for assistance and for someone to go and call a policeman.

Another neighbour that lived at 1 back of 11 Belmont Passage said that Joseph Phillips and his wife often quarrelled and that on 2 July 1935 he heard them rowing very hard and heard a smack like the slap on the face. He said that he then heard Joseph Phillips shout out, 'You bad old cat'. He said that he had never seen Joseph Phillips's wife hit him and added that if she did that she did it inside. He said that the row on 2 July 1935 got so bad that he could stand it no longer and called for a policeman. It was heard that when the police got to the house, Joseph Phillips's wife slammed the door in their faces.

A nurse that went with the ambulance said that when she got there she found Joseph Phillips semi-conscious lying on a broken-down wire mattress and said that when she asked him what had happened he said, 'I don't know'.

A policeman said that Joseph Phillips's wife told him that Joseph Phillips had got onto the wire mattress by crawling under one of the bars of the bedstead. The policeman said that he saw what looked like a patch of blood near the bedroom window and that he found other patches at the top and foot of the stairs. He said that he saw a treadle sewing machine at the bottom of the stairs that Joseph Phillips might have fallen on.

The Coroner's jury heard that there had been an allegation that Joseph Phillips had been assaulted by one of the neighbours, but the policeman said that he found nothing to support the suggestion.

A doctor at the Dudley Road Hospital said that the injury to Joseph Phillips's chest might have been caused by him falling against the treadle sewing machine and also that the injury to the back of his head might have been caused by it coming into contact with the framework of the bed.

The Coroner's jury said that there was nothing specific which they could fasten on Joseph Phillips's wife or anyone else and returned an open verdict.


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


see Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette - Wednesday 14 August 1935

see Western Daily Press - Wednesday 14 August 1935

see Birmingham Daily Gazette - Wednesday 14 August 1935