Unsolved Murders

Violet Hawkey

Age: 41

Sex: female

Date: 7 Apr 1946

Place: Higher Bejowan, Colan, Newquay, Cornwall

Violet Hawkey was found with a piece of tape tied round her neck.

Her death was initially described as a mystery, but at her inquest, the coroner ruled that she had committed suicide whilst the balance of her mind was disturbed.

Violet Hawkey was found dead on Sunday 7 April 1946 by her husband when he came back from milking on his 30 acre holding and took her up her morning cup of tea. She had an apron string and a pink silk scarf tied tightly round her neck.

Following the discovery of her body, the police searched the cottage and afterwards, to ensure that nothing was disturbed, locked it and left a constable on duty outside on guard and what was described as an intensive CID inquiry was made over the next few days.

After Violet Hawkey was found dead and the cottage locked up for police examination, Violet Hawkey's husband went to stay with his brother who lived a few hundred yards away.

However, the inquiry was completed on 10 April 1946 with the police saying that no further action was anticipated.

At the inquest, the pathologist said that he thought that Violet Hawkey had tied the apron strings round her neck herself and had then died from shock associated with early asphyxiation. He said that microscopic examination revealed slight bleeding into the skin showing where the apron strings were tied before death, although he said that it was obvious that they had not been tied tightly enough to affect her windpipe.

He said that he was of the opinion that Violet Hawkey could have tied the ligatures herself because they had been tied so loosely.

He added that strangulation in homicidal assaults invariably used force greatly in excess of what was necessary and that there was always a considerable amount of laceration and bruising, but that in Violet Hawkey's case, that was absent.

He said that there was a small cut on Violet Hawkey's cheek that could have been made by a finger nail if the finger had been inserted inside the scarf to twist it more tightly, adding that it was possible that her finger could have ren slipped out again after she became unconscious or died.

However, the doctor also said that it was possible that the scarf could have been used to prevent the marking of her skin while she was strangled manually by some other person, but thought that that was very unlikely because there was no evidence of disorder in the room or any marks at all on her body to indicate that there had been a struggle.

He noted that her actual cause of death was not strangulation, but shock, associated with early asphyxiation, caused by the ligature round her throat.

Violet Hawkey's sister-in-law, who lived at Tregorrick Farm in St Austell, said that Violet Hawkey had seemed worried about her spring cleaning, saying to her, 'Everyone seems hard to me. Nobody sympathizes with me'.

Violet Hawkey's husband said that they had been married for 19 years and that about a year earlier she had become very depressed and he had had her sent away for three weeks. He said that for some time before her death she had not seemed her usual self.

When the coroner returned his verdict of suicide, he said that he was fully satisfied that Violet Hawkey had been very depressed and had been in a nervous state of health. He added that one of the main points of evidence in his opinion was that the bedroom had not been disturbed and showed no sign whatever of a struggle.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Western Morning News - Wednesday 08 May 1946

see Dundee Courier - Tuesday 09 April 1946

see Cornishman - Thursday 11 April 1946

see Gloucester Citizen - Monday 08 April 1946

see Western Daily Press - Tuesday 09 April 1946

see Western Morning News - Monday 08 April 1946

see Gloucestershire Echo - Monday 08 April 1946

see Derby Daily Telegraph - Tuesday 09 April 1946

see Belfast Telegraph - Monday 08 April 1946

see Nottingham Journal - Tuesday 09 April 1946

see Western Daily Press - Wednesday 10 April 1946