Date: 24 Jun 1947
Place: Bishop Auckland
Helen Elizabeth Parkin died following a robbery at her home in Bishop Auckland.
She was found at her home, where she lived alone, with her face swollen and in a distressed state and was taken to hospital where she later died.
A 33-year-old trainee plasterer was tried for her manslaughter but acquitted after it was heard that it could not be proved that he had caused her injuries. However, he was convicted of robbery with violence after it was proven that he stole her handbag with £50 in it and was sentenced to five years penal servitude.
The plasterer said that he had gone to Helen Parkin's home to see about rooms for him and his wife. He then said, 'I saw the handbag. The only thing I can remember is that she went to sit down in a chair. I shoved her down, took the handbag, and left the house. It was the temptation of seeing the bag. I didn't mean to hurt the old lady. If I did hurt her I am very sorry'.
The pathologist that examined her body said that the injuries that Helen Parkin had received were due to a heavy fall or blow. However, when he was asked by the judge whether there was a connection between her black eye and her other injuries, the pathologist said, 'No'. He also agreed that if Helen Parkin had been unsteady on her feet or given to fits of giddiness, that she might have fallen without any relation to her black eye.
When the judge summed up, he said that there might have been some slight evidence pointing to the plasterer being connected with Helen Parkin's death but added that he was doubtful, and that suspicion was not enough.
The jury then found the plasterer not guilty of murder and manslaughter without leaving the box.
It was heard that the plasterer, who was of no fixed abode, had been discharged from prison the day before the offence.
see Dundee Courier - Tuesday 24 June 1947
see Northern Whig - Tuesday 24 June 1947
see Belfast News-Letter - Tuesday 24 June 1947
see Coventry Evening Telegraph - Tuesday 24 June 1947
see Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette - Tuesday 17 June 1947