Unsolved Murders

Florence Gates

Age: 4 months

Sex: female

Date: 21 Aug 1909

Place: 55 Barkerhouse Road, Nelson

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Florence Gates was suffocated.

It was heard that she was found dead in her cot at her home at 55 Barkerhouse Road, Nelson. Her parents said that they had put her in her cot on the Saturday night but that on the Sunday morning they had found her dead and discoloured, with marks across her face.

However, the police and medical evidence showed that the pattern imprinted across her face matched the pattern on the sheet of the family bed in which four members of the family slept. A medical witness said that in his opinion he thought that Florence Gates had been taken into her parents bed and suffocated.

At the inquest, the Coroner said that he didn't believe one word that the father had said, stating that the pattern on Florence Gates's face resembled the pattern on the sheets and that he thought that they had taken Florence Gates to bed with them and that if Florence Gates had not been suffocated accidently then they must have done it purposely, adding that it might have been murder or manslaughter.

An open verdict was returned.


see Burnley Express - Wednesday 25 August 1909, p6

see Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Wednesday 25 August 1909

see Lincolnshire Echo - Wednesday 25 August 1909