Date: 23 Jun 1942
Albert Monk was found dying at a block of flats in Upper Norwood on the evening of 22 June 1942.
It was first claimed that he was found at 12 Beulah Hill, but then later 76 Beulah Hill.
He was taken to the Mayday Hospital where he died the following day.
When he was admitted to the hospital he had bruises on his right knee, and a deep abrasion with the flesh broken on his left knee.
At his post-mortem, marks were found on his neck which it was said indicated that a thin rope or string had been passed round his neck. However, at his inquest it was observed that if a piece of rope had been used then it should have been found. A nurse also said that he had spinal curvature, a bad bruise on one hip and abrasions on the other hip and added that he had a running ulcer on his left leg.
When the nurse described the marks around his neck she said that there were three of them and that they all ran practically from ear to ear and that each of them were more or less parallel and about an eighth of an inch apart. She said that she first thought that they were dirt and tried to wash them off but said that she could not.
The doctor said, 'I think the marks round his neck suggest that a thin rope or string had been passed round the neck in such a way as to suspend him for some little time. He died from the effects of shock and exposure acting on a senile condition, but I am unable to exclude violence having contributed to his death'.
It was also heard that he could have laid down after receiving his injuries and then died from exposure.
It was noted that the marks around his neck could not have been caused by a stiff collar.
The doctor that carried out Albert Monk's post-mortem said that he had a surprisingly good heart for his age.
The police said that they could find no trace of any of Albert Monk's friends or family.
Albert Monk was thought to have lived in either the Shirley or Totton districts of Southampton and was thought to have been a caretaker. It was said that he had lived in Chapel Street in Southampton up to November 1937 when it was thought that he had gone to live with a niece in Hollybush Terrace in Upper Norwood. However, at his inquest, it was heard that despite extensive inquiries, no trace of anyone could be found that had seen Albert Monk shortly before his death. Another house was visited in the search for Albert Monk's home which was at Victoria Crescent where a couple of other people connected to him were said to have lived, but the property was found to be vacant and up for sale.
The police said that they searched 76 Beulah Hill for a National Registration card but were unable to find one there, although did say that they found an out-patient's card from the Free Eye Hospital in Southampton dated 15 June 1928 and a National Health Insurance card dated January 1914.
The coroner said that he was not satisfied with the information given by the woman who said that she had found him. It was heard that when Albert Monk was first taken to the hospital, the woman had refused to give her name and had said that Albert Monk had fallen out of bed at 12 Beulah Hill. However, the ambulance picked Albert Monk up at 76 Beulah Hill and the woman later said that she didn't remember saying anything about 12 Beulah Hill. It was also noted that when Albert Monk was admitted to the hospital that the woman had said that he was the caretaker at 76 Beulah Hill.
The doctor at Mayday Hospital said that his case papers had his address as 12 Beulah Hill, as given by the woman that said that he had fallen out of bed.
The woman said that she had known Albert Monk for about 18 months as the caretaker at 76 Beulah Hill which was owned by a friend of hers, and said that she had visited him because she thought that he had been in such a condition that he ought to be in a nursing home.
The woman said that she used to bring him food and said that on Tuesday 22 June 1942 she had found him lying in an alcove on the ground floor. She said that he didn't tell her how he had fallen and said that she then called for an ambulance. She said that the reason why she was upset when she brought him to the hospital was because she had had some difficulty in getting the ambulance.
She said that she knew nothing about the marks around his neck and said that there were no marks there when she had seen him in the alcove.
The woman said that she lived on Hollybush Terrace in Upper Norwood with her husband and said that the woman that lived at 76 Beulah Hill had been a friend of hers since 1922 but said that she was not sure when she had first met Albert Monk.
When the woman was asked what knowledge she had about insurance on Albert Monk's life she sid that she had paid some premiums for him recently, saying that the first time that she paid a premium for him was about 18 months earlier.
She added that she didn't use Albert Monk's ration card for the food that she bought him, but added that she supposed that all of the food that she bought him was rationed food. She added that she also occasionally gave him some money.
When the woman was asked about the address at Hollybush Terrace she said that she had never lived there but had visited there before.
At the inquest, a man, an ARP Post Warden, said that he lived on Lunham Road and said that he recognised the photo of Albert Monk as an old man that had lived in a flat in the same house as him in Lunham Road, saying that he had lived there about five months before September 1939 and that he had lived with a woman who was later said to have been living at 76 Beulah Hill with her husband. He said that when the people in the flat left he heard that they had gone to live in Hollybush Terrace. The man then said that he recognised the woman that said she had found Albert Monk as the woman that had been living with Albert Monk in Lunham Road in 1939, but when the woman was called to identify the man, she said that she didn't know him.
It was also noted that the coroner had received anonymous telephone messages regarding the case.
An open verdict was returned.
see Norwood News - Friday 24 July 1942
see Norwood News - Friday 17 July 1942
see Gloucester Citizen - Saturday 11 July 1942