Unsolved Murders

Alice Maud Boddy

Age: 23

Sex: female

Date: 30 Mar 1910

Place: 12 Cumberland Street, Nelson

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Alice Maud Boddy died from an abortion.

She died on the morning of 30 March 1910 at her home.

Alice Boddy was described as having been slightly deformed since childhood and to have enjoyed good health up until the previous Sunday, but that on the following Wednesday morning had told her father that she was feeling better. However, half an hour later Alice Boddy's married sister went into her bedroom and found her in a dying condition. A doctor was sent for, but she died before he could arrive.

Her father said that she complained of feeling unwell on the Friday but was still knocking about the house. He said that Alice Boddy didn't follow any profession beyond looking after the house. He said that on the Sunday and Monday she was in bed all day and said that when he asked her if he should fetch her a doctor she replied that she wanted no doctor and that she would soon be all right. He said that she was back downstairs on the Tuesday and seemed pretty much as usual. The father said that he asked her the following morning how she felt and said that Alice Boddy told him that she was a lot better and seemed quite cheerful.

However, the father said that when the other married daughter went upstairs to see Alice Boddy at 8am, the married daughter started screaming. He said that when he went upstairs he found her face out of shape. He said that she asked for a drop of tea and a poultice, which the father said that he got for her after which he went for the doctor. However, he said that Alice Boddy was dead by the time they returned.

The sister said that Alice Boddy had mentioned to her a dinner-time on the Tuesday that she had thought that she was in a certain condition but said that Alice Boddy didn't say anything more about it that day. However, she said that Alice Boddy seemed to become poorly on the Friday and complained of pains in her stomach. The sister said that she was away all Saturday and didn't see her but that on the Sunday and Monday Alice Boddy was in bed all day. She said that Alice Boddy was up for two hours on the Tuesday and said that on the Tuesday night she asked her if she had not better have a doctor. The sister said then that the following morning at 6am Alice Boddy told her that she was a bit better but that at breakfast time she appeared to be dying and the doctor was sent for.

The sister noted that she had not known that Alice Boddy had been in a certain condition until the Tuesday and said that she did not know that Alice Boddy had said that a certain woman had done anything to her but said that Alice Boddy had taken certain drugs.

A friend that had known Alice Boddy well said that she saw her on the Friday night and said that she was ill. She said that Alice Boddy then asked her if she had heard anything but said that she replied, 'No, but I have a good idea'. She said that Alice Boddy then said, 'Well, I will tell you if you will keep a secret', and then made a statement to her. The friend said that she saw Alice Boddy again on the Saturday afternoon in bed and then again on the Tuesday night when she said that Alice Boddy said to her, 'I think I am going'. The friend said that Alice Boddy also made another statement to her and also told her that a doctor was coming. The friend said that she then asked Alice Boddy if she would tell the doctor the truth and said that Alice Boddy replied, 'No, I'd rather die first'.

After the doctor carried out the post-mortem he concluded that death had been due to peritonitis. He added that, assuming that the evidence of the friend was correct regarding what Alice Boddy had told her in her statements, he could find no evidence of what had been alleged.

The Coroner said that the probability was that it had been brought on by some means, but said that there was nothing to show what had brought it about.

The Coroner said, in advising the jury to return an open verdict, that he was sorry to say that that kind of thing was frightfully prevalent all over the district. He said that he came across it week after week and day after day, and that, in spite of the number of cases in which he held inquiries, it still went on, and that people took not the slightest warning at the number of deaths that occurred. He said that for one case on which an inquest was held, they could reckon on a number which they never heard about, adding that it was a frightful thing.

The jury then returned an open verdict.


see Northern Daily Telegraph - Saturday 02 April 1910

see Northern Daily Telegraph - Wednesday 30 March 1910