Unsolved Murders

Marie Theresa Bostock

Age: 19

Sex: female

Date: 30 Jul 1936

Place: Audrey Road, Ilford

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Marie Theresa Bostock died from an illegal operation on 30 July 1936.

She had lived at home with her parents and was a wireless coil tester.

The pathologist said that she had died from the effects of injuries inflicted by a certain instrument. He said that whilst the injuries could have been self-inflicted, he thought that it was improbable that they were. Her cause of death was given as being due to a cerebral abscess arising from an infection of the pelvis through the introduction of an instrument for the purpose of procuring abortion. He also added that there was a puncture in the left wall of the womb.

After hearing the evidence, the Coroner said that he felt that somebody was withholding a great deal of valuable information. The Coroner said, 'No girl of 19 suddenly goes off like a bolt from the blue and has an operation unless someone introduced her to a person who did the operation. There is a possibility that someone supplied her with money, and I would like to know how these things came about. It is impossible that some of her friends know nothing about it'. He said that there had been a conspiracy of silence.

Marie Bostock's mother said that Marie Bostock left home at 8.30am on 14 July 1936 and returned later that evening at 6.15pm and then went upstairs to her room. She said that she didn't see her but that whilst she was up in her room she prepared some food for her and then went out. She said that when she returned at 10pm she found that Marie Bostock was ill. She said that she then spoke to her and discovered for the first time that Marie Bostock was pregnant and then sent for a doctor who ordered her removal to hospital.

The mother said that Marie Bostock had been keeping company with two men, with one up to Christmas and with another subsequently. The mother said that the latter had brought Marie Bostock home from the cinema on the night of 14 July 1936. She said that she had been under the impression that Marie Bostock had been to work on 14 July but said that one of her brothers had seen her in Cranbrook Road at 2pm apparently waiting for someone.

The man that Marie Bostock had been seeing since the beginning of the year said that he had first met her when he was a barman at a pub, however, he said that at about the end of March she had told him that she didn't think that they ought to see each other anymore because she was pregnant and somebody else was responsible.

At the inquest, the Coroner said to the man, 'Being a very conscientious young woman she didn't think you ought to take the blame for what was somebody else's business?', and the man replied, 'Yes'.  The Coroner then said, 'And being a conscientious young man, you said that you ought to get married in spite of the fact that she was going to have a child by somebody else?', and the man replied, 'Yes, I thought a great deal about her and was willing to marry her. We thought several times of telling her mother about her condition but decided not to do so'.

The boyfriend also said that on 14 July 1936 he had been sitting in the Ilford Super Cinema when Marie Bostock passed where he was sitting on her way out. He said that he joined her and said that when they got outside she was shivering and looking ill, and he said that he then accompanied her home. He said that she was in a very distressed condition all the way. He said that the next that he heard of her was that she was in Oldchurch Hospital.

At the inquest the Coroner spoke of a conspiracy amongst some people and it was heard that the boyfriend had gone into a room sometime after Marie Bostock had died where another girl was ill in bed and accompanied by two men, including the motor mechanic that she had been seeing before Christmas. The boyfriend said that when he went in he said to the motor mechanic, 'I have been informed you supplied her with money for an operation', but said that the motor mechanic said that he knew nothing about it. When the Coroner questioned the boyfriend, the boyfriend agreed that he thought that there was a conspiracy and said that he had gone into the room to find out if he could hear any more about it.

At the inquest, the motor mechanic said that he had kept company with Marie Bostock up to Christmas but said that in consequence of some objection by her parents and some disagreement with Marie Bostock, he had ceased to meet her and said that he had had nothing to do with her subsequent to December 1935. He said that he was aware that Marie Bostock had had one or two other men friends but said that he had not known that she was pregnant and said that he had met her only two or three times and that those meetings were quite casual.

A girl that had become friendly with Marie Bostock when they had worked together in the same factory said that she had known her for over three years but said that in December 1935 she had stopped seeing her because of an objection by Marie Bostock's mother. However, she said that she saw Marie Bostock on 13 July 1936 when she travelled home with her. However, she said that she didn't know about her condition until detectives called on her. The Coroner then asked the girl, 'You know now that on the following day she had an illegal operation. You still maintain that you did not know that this was going to be done?', but the girl said that she didn't.

The Coroner also noted that the meeting referred to by the boyfriend in relation to the conspiracy and asking the motor mechanic about whether he had given Marie Bostock some money, had taken place in her bedroom when she was ill.

Another girl that had worked at the factory as a coil winder said that she had heard Marie Bostock saying to the friend of Marie Bostock that she was taking pills and said that she heard the friend say, 'You will kill yourself as well'.

When the Coroner summed up he said that apart from the pathologist's report, the rest of the evidence was practically valueless for the purpose of finding exactly what had happened.

He said that they had found out that Marie Bostock was seen at 11am in Ilford and again at 2pm and then at 6pm but that there was no information at all as to what she had done between 11am and 6pm. He said that the pathologist had said that it was highly improbable that her injuries were self-inflicted and that it was more likely that some other person had inflicted them. The Coroner repeated that he didn't think that everyone had told all they knew and said that there had been a conspiracy of silence.

An open verdict was then returned.


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


see Chelmsford Chronicle - Friday 14 August 1936

see Chelmsford Chronicle - Friday 07 August 1936

see Essex Newsman - Saturday 15 August 1936