Unsolved Murders

William George Bonner

Age: 46

Sex: male

Date: 2 Jun 1947

Place: 83 Suffolk Road, Eastney, Portsmouth

William George Bonner was found dead at his home on the morning of Monday 2 June 1947.

He died from gas poisoning.

He had recently complained that his wife had been getting on his nerves and had thrown two vases at him because he would not get her another house.

William Bonner's wife had been a mental patient at St James Hospital for six months about seven or eight years earlier.

A relative that lived in Playfair Road in Southsea said that William Bonner had been to see her a couple of weeks earlier and had told her that his wife was getting on his nerves and that at times it was terrible and said that she advised him to have her seen by a doctor, but said that William Bonner had said that it would break his heart if she was taken away again.

The relative said that William Bonner's wife then came to see her on 2 June 1947 and said, 'Bill's gone'. She said that when she asked her whether they had had a row, William Bonner's wife said, 'I think he is dead. He has been playing with my gas iron. When I came down, I found him in the scullery'.

When the police went to their house and got in through the window, they found William Bonner sitting dead in a chair with the windows open and it was noted that there was no smell of gas. A gas cooker was found in the adjoining scullery, but its taps were turned off and no gas iron was seen.

When the police asked William Bonner's wife what had happened, she made a rambling statement in which she said that she had got up shortly after 8am and found William Bonner lying on the scullery floor near the gas oven. She said that she had then picked him up and put him in the chair in the other room. It was said that she had appeared to be mentally deranged and so she was taken to Nazareth House. When she was later questioned, they could not get anything from her about whether the gas had been on or off although she did mention a gas iron.

It was suggested that William Bonner might have had the flexible tubing of the gas iron in his mouth as the main tubing was fixed.

The doctor noted that William Bonner was a rather big man and that it seemed to him that it would have been a difficult thing for William Bonner's wife to have moved him to another room.

The assistant deputy coroner said that it was quite clear that William Bonner's wife was suffering from delusions and that William Bonner was very fond of her and that but for that, she would have probably have been detained as she was, and noted that it was difficult to get a clear picture of what had happened.

The jury returned an open verdict, stating that there was not enough evidence to bring in a verdict of suicide.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Hampshire Telegraph - Friday 06 June 1947