Unsolved Murders

Lilian Elizabeth Campbell

Age: 27

Sex: female

Date: 1 May 1916

Place: 23 Ladbroke Road, Redhill

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Lilian Elizabeth Campbell died from mercurial poisoning.

She was a cinema pianist and had lodged at 23 Ladbroke Road in Redhill.

She died after falling ill after a dinner with the man that she was lodging with. They both became ill but the man survived.

At the time, her inquest returned a verdict of death due to blood poisoning after having eaten some rhubarb and pineapples and she was buried.

However, in August 1916, the police advised the Public Prosecutor to grant permission for her exhumation and for her remains to be submitted for analytical examination.

It was heard that after her death when the circumstances became public property, sinister rumours circulated throughout the district and it was thought generally that the fact that Lilian Campbell should meet such an agonising death as the result of eating some stewed rhubarb and pineapple seemed most extraordinary. As such, the question of why she was attacked by violent pains following her meal and passed away in such agony was the pivot of the renewed police investigation.

It was also noted that as part of the new investigation, the police went to great length to scrutinise certain entries in the poison books of several chemists in Redhill but refused to speculate on the cause of her death.

Following the analysis of her remains, the Home Office pathologist reported on 23 October 1916 that in his opinion, following the exhumation of Lilian Campbell's body, that her death was due to mercurial poisoning.

However, it was concluded that her death would probably remain a mystery at the second inquest in October, Lilian Campbell's father said that a great deal was said at the inquest about his daughters teeth being bad, but produced a letter from her telling him that she attended to her teeth day and night and that she had lovely teeth. He added that when he had been with her shortly before she died he noticed that her vomit was a very dark green colour and said that he had an idea that the doctor should have analysed it, adding that if perhaps he had, that they might have known the real cause of her death.  He concluded that it was now all a mystery and that it seemed that the police were baffled by the affair.


*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.


see Sunday Post - Sunday 22 October 1916

see Dundee People's Journal - Saturday 12 August 1916

see Surrey Mirror - Tuesday 08 August 1916

see Surrey Mirror - Friday 27 October 1916

see Surrey Mirror - Friday 11 August 1916

see Dundee Evening Telegraph - Tuesday 15 August 1916

see Evening Despatch - Wednesday 04 October 1916

see Birmingham Daily Gazette - Monday 23 October 1916