Unsolved Murders

Rita Irene Stephens

Age: 21

Sex: female

Date: 17 Nov 1943

Place: Lydney

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Rita Irene Stephens died from a septic abortion.

She had lived at 27 Queen Street in Lydney.

Her death was said to have been due to peritonitis caused by a septic abortion.

She had gone to Gloucester on 17 October 1943 saying that she was going to see friends and was away for about four or five days. She then returned home one night but said that she was going away again and went off again for a further few days. Her grandmother, with whom she lived in Queen Street said that when she returned after that she looked very unwell and said that Rita Stephens told her that she had a cold.

Her grandmother said that on Tuesday 10 November 1943 she treated Rita Stephens for her cold and said that she did not appear to get any worse, but said that the following day, 11 November 1943 she didn't seem so well and when she appeared worse in the evening she called for a doctor.

After Rita Stephens's grandmother called for the doctor, Rita Stephens told her that she thought that she might have had a miscarriage, saying that she had fallen and had had a good shaking and that three or four days later the miscarriage had occurred.

The doctor said that when he was called to see Rita Stephens on 12 November 1943 during morning surgery, he found her very seriously ill and ordered her removal to hospital where she had local and general treatment to reduce severe toxaemia.

The doctor said that on the Monday, 16 November 1943 her condition was growing worse and that he thought that an operation was imperative, and it was carried out the same afternoon. He said that following the operation she held her ground fairly well and was quite comfortable when he saw her at 11pm but said that he was summoned a few hours later at 1.30am on the Tuesday 17 November 1943 when her condition took a turn for the worse. He said that he then ordered treatment for her and sent for her relatives and that she rallied for a time, but then suddenly died at 2.45am.

When the coroner summed up at the inquest, he said that there was no evidence to show how her death was brought about.


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