Unsolved Murders

Ada Palin

Age: 46

Sex: female

Date: 31 Jan 1935

Place: Preston Road, Lea

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Ada Palin died from bronchial pneumonia at her home.

At the time of her death she was described as having been in an extremely emaciated condition and had bruises on her body that were consistent with a fall.

The police said that she also had signs of a cut on the bridge of her nose about a quarter of an inch long and discolouration’s of the right eye and other abrasions. It was said that the marks were consistent with a collision with possibly the sharp edge of a door and that no foul play was suspected.

The Coroner said that there had been a lot of rumours about the case but said that it took a great deal of evidence to bring anything home to anyone and said that an open verdict would leave the police free to make any investigations they thought fit.

Ada Palin's neighbour said that she thought that Ada Palin had aged 40 years in 18 months, saying that she had aged from 40 to 80. She said that she had seen Ada Palin's companion push her fingers in to her eyes and that she had seen her with black eyes. She said that she had appeared cowed and would not say anything. Her neighbour said that she went to the police about it as she felt that Ada Palin was not receiving fair treatment.

She said that she had known her for 18 months and that when she had first met her Ada Palin had been energetic and a brisk walker and of good appearance. She said that she knocked about quite normally and went to the shops and added that she used to see her with black eyes. She said that she began to become anxious when she started to see her with bruises but said that she had not seen Ada Palin outside since about August 1934. She said that Ada Palin would knock about quite ordinarily for a long time but that she gradually saw her failing in health and said that she went from about 40 to looking about 80. She said that she had hardly had time for her black eyes to get better before she had another one. She said that she saw that she had a bruised nose one time and said that Ada Palin would tell her that she had dizzy fits and falls.

The neighbour said that she would hear groans coming from the bedroom like groans of agony and said that the last time that she saw her was on the Monday before she died when she was pottering round and putting some clothes on a line. She said that she thought that she wasn't getting enough to eat and that she was being punished. The neighbour said that it would upset her and said that Ada Palin appeared cowed and daren’t speak to anybody at all and said that she never had a chance to speak to her at all.

When the Coroner asked the neighbour whether she went to get help and the neighbour said that she did, saying that she had done her duty all through. She said that she went in the middle of summer and in the first week of 1935. She said that the police constable she spoke to told her that he was going to see the cruelty inspector but said that nothing became of it.

When the Coroner asked the neighbour if she ever asked Ada Palin herself how she had got her black eyes she said that Ada Palin would never tell anyone anything. When the Coroner asked the neighbour if she had spoken to Ada Palin's companion about her bruises she said that she didn't because she was not friendly with her. However, she confirmed that she had never received any complaints from Ada Palin that her injuries were due to violence.

Another woman also said that Ada Palin had told her that her companion had pushed her fingers into her eyes. She also said that Ada Palin was sometimes simple and would insist on eating scraps left by others.

Another woman who said that she had stayed with Ada Palin's companion and also at the Fiddler's Cafe nearby said that when she saw Ada Palin she looked very ill and said that she would eat any food that other people left over, saying that she would eat whatever was on the plate whether it was finished or not. She said that she would eat pieces of bread with lard on it.

Ada Palin's companion said that Ada Palin had lived with her for the previous five years. She said that Ada Palin was single and had never lived at home, having always been in service. She said that she spoke to her once about her mother and said that she had told her that she had died when she was quite young.

The doctor that carried out the post-mortem stated that externally Ada Palin's body was in an extremely emaciated condition. She said that there was a cut on the right forearm and some discolouration under the right eye and a cut on the bridge of the nose with an abrasion on the right shin. She said that the injuries were consistent with a recent fall.

She went on to say that internally there was very little blood in the body and that her heart was pale and small. She said that her stomach contained a watery fluid and that there was evidence of bronchial pneumonia in both lungs. She said that the walls of the stomach were very pale, and that the small intestine was empty and that there was no fat at all in the abdomen.  She said that in her opinion that death had been due to bronchial pneumonia accelerated by want of sufficient nourishment. She added that anybody in an emaciated condition similar to Ada Palin's would not stand bronchial pneumonia very long, probably only a day or two.

The Coroner then asked the doctor whether it was not the characteristic of people who are rather dull mentally that they tended to starve themselves and the doctor replied that she didn't agree stating that in her experience they ate too much.

The Coroner noted that obviously the neighbour had been very upset in the witness box but noted that it took a good deal more evidence than that to bring home anything of the nature that had been hinted at in the case against anybody.


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


see Lancashire Evening Post - Tuesday 05 February 1935

see Nottingham Journal - Wednesday 06 February 1935

see Western Daily Press - Wednesday 06 February 1935

see Lancashire Evening Post - Saturday 02 February 1935