Unsolved Murders

Sam Elimeleck Rayworth

Age: 17

Sex: male

Date: 14 Sep 1935

Place: Tromsoe, Norway

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Sam Elimeleck Rayworth died from a head injury.

He had been to sea on the steam trawler Lady Lilian, owned by Jutland Amalgamated Trawlers Ltd as a deckie-learner and said that the skipper had struck him.

However, the skipper denied having hit Sam Rayworth and a police inspector said that he had taken statements from 17 persons, including the whole crew, and said that he could not find any evidence that the skipper had at any time struck the boy.

His mother said that when Sam Rayworth returned a voyage sometime in May 1935 he complained of pains in his head and told her that the skipper had struck him while defending a boy who was making a pleasure trip.

She said that he then went out to sea again in June 1935 on the same vessel, returning in the middle of June and again complained of his head and said that his mind was a blank and that he didn't really know what he was doing. She said that the next night she put him to bed and called the doctor and told him that Sam Rayworth had had a fall and struck his head.

Sam Rayworth's mother said that he said that he was carrying beer off the ship to a house in Tromsoe, Norway, noting that he had gone to the house three times and said that he refused to go a fourth time. He then said that after supper the skipper told him to show the 'pleasure' boy how to do something but he refused to do so and said that the pleasure boy called him an offensive name and so he hit him. He said that the skipper, in defending the 'pleasure' boy struck him, causing him to fall to the deck.

The doctor that carried out his post-mortem stated that he found no sign whatever of any injury to his scalp or skull, but said he did find an abnormal quantity of fluid which had caused pressure on his brain. He said that the character of the fluid suggested that its presence was due to injury. He noted that it was commonplace that in head injuries that the damage to the brain was often out of all proportion to the damage to the skull.

The secretary of Jutland Amalgamated Trawlers Ltd denied that there was a 'pleasure' boy aboard the Lady Lilian on the voyage referred to. He noted that the skipper was a popular man and that he had transferred from the Lady Eleanor to the Lady Lilian the previous December and that most of the crew had transferred with him and stated that they were a happy crew.

The skipper also denied that there had been a 'pleasure' boy on board and also denied hitting Sam Rayworth at any time. He said that the only complaint that Sam Rayworth had made to him was of having a headache for which he said he gave him some medicine. He also denied that he had sent him with lager beer at Tromsoe.

When the Coroner summed up he said, 'I say definitely there is not a shred of evidence to connect the skipper with the injury, if injury was sustained. It may be the lad slipped and knocked his head'.

The jury returned an open verdict stating that they were satisfied that the cause of death was due to coma due to compression of the brain and to oedema of the brain, probably caused by an injury not definitely established.


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


see Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Saturday 14 September 1935

see Leeds Mercury - Saturday 14 September 1935