Unsolved Murders

Florence Amy Smalley

Age: 56

Sex: female

Date: 20 Sep 1935

Place: Clark Street, Morcambe

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Florence Amy Smalley was found dead with head injuries in a yard behind a building used as a warehouse in Clark Street.

The police said that they were inclined to think that she had been hit by a motor vehicle and that her body had then been carried to the place where it was found.

She was found in a secluded spot in the yard behind a two-storey building that was used as a stable. Thirty yards away there were houses on the promenade with their back gardens running down to the stable.

Her body was found by a man who used the stable as a warehouse after a woman’s dog ran to it barking after being let out of one of the adjoining back gardens.

She had been wearing a light jumper and a dark skirt.

Her body showed no sign of having lain at the spot for any length of time and it was thought possible that she had been struck down elsewhere and then taken there.

Her cause of death was stated as being due to laceration of the brain.

The police said that they thought that she had met her death between 11pm on Thursday 19 September 1935 and 1am the following day, Friday 20 September 1935. However, other reports suggested that she had been dumped there between 2am on 20 September 1935 and dawn as it was said that there was no sign of her body having been there at 2am.

A doctor also said that he thought that a car wheel was the most likely thing to have caused her death. He said that he thought that she had then been dragged into the yard.

Florence Smalley was from Meadowside in Lancaster which was three miles away and the police said that they didn't know why she was in Morecambe but said that they thought that she had gone there the previous night for the fireworks display that was being held in connection with the towns carnival week.

The Coroner said that the theory of a car having caused her death might be a sound one but said that it was just a theory and said that the jury might prefer a verdict of murder although added that it was just as possible that her injuries might have been caused by somebody in circumstances that lacked the murder malice.

An open verdict was returned at her inquest.

Because of unseemly scenes at funerals in Lancaster around that time, her funeral was held under strict secrecy. It was noted that just over a week earlier another woman was buried after having been killed in a motoring accident three hours after her marriage, and over 500 people, chiefly women, attended her funeral and obstructed mourners at the graveside and trampled down flowers on other graves.

Her estate was valued at £984 13s 10d gross with net personalty £899 15s 11d. She died intestate and letters of administration were granted to her son who was a surveyor.

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

see Lancashire Evening Post - Monday 18 November 1935

see Morecambe Guardian - Friday 22 November 1935

see Western Daily Press - Saturday 21 September 1935

see Western Daily Press - Tuesday 19 November 1935