Date: 17 Jul 1946
Ivy Gladys Scott was found suffocated in her bed on the morning of 17 July 1946.
She was found by a female lodger. Shortly after she was discovered dead, her husband, who had been out working a night shift at the Chislet colliery returned home.
At the inquest, Ivy Scott's husband was asked whether Ivy Scott and the female lodger had been on friendly terms and he said that they were and added that the lodgers presence in the house didn't cause Ivy Scott any jealousy on Ivy Scott's part, noting that the female lodger was a friend of Ivy Scott, not him.
Ivy Scott's husband said that on the morning of 16 July 1946 Ivy Scott complained of feeling sick and having a headache although added that she was normally in good health apart from neuralgia.
The doctor who was called out on the morning of 17 July 1946 said that Ivy Scott's appearance suggested asphyxiation, and when asked by the coroner how he could account for an adult being asphyxiated in bed, the doctor said that that sometimes happened to epileptics who smothered themselves whilst having fits, as well as sometimes happening under the influence of drugs.
The doctor added that the condition of her body was the same as he would expect if somebody had held her down and smothered her, except that in that case he would expect to see bruising, booting that he found no signs of bruising on Ivy Scott's body.
The pathologist that examined Ivy Scott's body said that her death was due to asphyxia. He said that he took away parts of her neck muscles for examination for external bruising, but found no evidence of that, and concluded that her death was probably caused by her being smothered with a pillow. He said, 'It is a very unusual thing to happen'.
When the coroner asked, 'I am not suggesting anything, but was the condition in which she was found entirely consistent with pressure from some external cause, such as another person pressing her face into the pillow?' and the pathologist replied, 'Yes'.
The pathologist also noted that a person could not commit suicide by smothering on a pillow.
The inquest heard that Ivy Scott's organs had been sent away for analysis at the Metropolitan Police Laboratory in Hendon, but that the findings did not show any evidence of poisoning or other noxious substance.
The female lodger said that she had known Ivy Scott for six to eight months and that they were good friends. She said that on the morning of 17 July 1946, she was awakened by the next-door neighbour who wanted to speak to Ivy Scott and went upstairs to get her. She said, 'I went upstairs to Mrs Scott's room. The door was open, and I went in. Her seven-year-old adopted daughter was standing between the bed and the door and said she could not wake her mummy, whose face was blue. I touched Mrs Scott's shoulder to see if I could awaken her, but I couldn't. I took the little girl downstairs and waited for the doctor who arrived about 9.10am'.
The lodger said that the adopted daughter had slept all night with Ivy Scott and that she had heard no disturbance. The lodger added, 'I had bolted the doors and windows at night and the were intact in the morning. There were no signs of anybody having been in the house during the night'.
A woman who Ivy Scott worked with at the Harbour lavatories, said that Ivy Scott always seemed to be in good health and had been quite cheerful on 16 July 1946.
When the coroner summed up he said that there seemed to be no doubt that Ivy Scott had died from asphyxiation, and that the only question for the jury to consider was what the cause was. He said, 'You will agree that the circumstances were distinctly unusual, not to say mysterious. I am definitely of opinion that you will not find sufficient evidence to lay responsibility for this woman's death on the shoulders of any particular person. I don't think you will find a verdict of murder against some person or persons unknown would be justified'.
The coroner also added that the doctor had said that there was no suggestion of any suicidal intentions.
The jury then returned an open verdict after a short retirement stating that Ivy Scott died from asphyxiation but that the cause of it was unknown.
see Thanet Advertiser - Friday 16 August 1946