Unsolved Murders

Alfred William Coney

Age: 27

Sex: male

Date: 5 Aug 1912

Place: River Severn

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Alfred William Coney was found in the River Severn with his head battered in.

Medical evidence showed that he had not drowned.

His father identified his body and said that Alfred Coney had been a baker but had latterly been working as a plum picker and although irregular in his habits, was not addicted to drink.

He was known to sleep in the corporation bathing tent on Worcester racecourse and was last seen there on the previous Saturday apparently asleep with an unknown man standing by him. Subsequently, bloodstains were found on the grass and Alfred Coney's cap was found nearby.

His watch and money, which he was known to have had, were found to be missing.

A friend of Alfred Coney said that he used to do pea-picking with him and said that he last saw him on Friday 26 July 1912 at about 10.20pm in the bathing tent at Pitchcroft. He said that when he last saw him Alfred Coney had between 8s and 12s tied in a handkerchief.

The friend said that he arranged to meet Alfred Coney the following morning for a bathe, but said that Alfred Coney didn't turn up. He said that later on that day, at about 3pm, his younger brother told him that someone had found Alfred Coney's green hat near the bathing tent and that it had had blood on it and so he went to the police station to give evidence.

Another man from Barbourne who didn't know Alfred Coney said that at about 6.30am on the Saturday morning, 27 July 1912 he had been proceeding from his employer's yard along Pitchcroft to go to the ferry when he had passed the bathing tent and had seen two people in it. He said that one person was lying on his side with a green hat covering his head and that the other was standing up. He said that he looked through a hole in the tent and said that as he did so the man that had been standing up got behind the wings of the tent with the obvious intention of hiding himself. However, he said that he didn't think that there was anything wrong at the time.

However, when he was returning from work, he said that he was told that a person had committed suicide and said that when he went into the tent, he saw a pool of blood where Alfred Coney's head would have been. He said that the pool of blood was about 10 to 12 feet from the water’s edge.

The policeman that came to the tent at 10.30am said that he saw the patches of blood and said that he thought that they looked as though a man had cut his foot in the river and had then walked back to the tent.

Alfred Coney's body was later found at about 8 o'clock on the 1 August 1912 floating in the water near a farm in Ripple.

The medical evidence showed that he had been dead or unconscious before he had gone into the water.

His post-mortem stated that he had an extensive fracture on the left side of his skull and that his heart had been practically empty of blood. His lungs were also found to be full of air with no water or foreign bodies in them.

His inquest returned the verdict that Alfred Coney was found dead in the River Severn but that there was no evidence to show how he had met his death.


see Western Daily Press - Monday 05 August 1912

see Daily Herald - Monday 05 August 1912

see Cheltenham Chronicle - Saturday 10 August 1912