Unsolved Murders

Alice Wiggins

Age: 35

Sex: female

Date: 12 Aug 1906

Place: 7 Kenyon Terrace, Kenyon Street, Birmingham

Alice Wiggins was found dead in her kitchen with a head injury.

Her husband, a wire-drawer, said that he had been out in the company of Alice Wiggins's brother on the Saturday night and that when he had got home at 11pm he had found Alice Wiggins in a very intoxicated condition. He said that no sooner did they enter the house that Alice Wiggins set about her brother and struck him with her hands and drove him down the garden, and said that if it had not been for the neighbours that she would have in all probabilities been locked up.

He said that Alice Wiggins's brother then left the premises and that when he returned Alice Wiggins began to serve him the same and threw chairs and sundry other articles at him until he could control himself no longer and he struck her in the face with his hand. He said that he didn't think that he struck her in the face with his clenched fist. He said that the neighbours then separated them.

Alice Wiggins's husband said that Alice Wiggins had been sleeping downstairs for some time with their little boy but that on that night he asked her whether she was coming to bed, and that when she refused he went to his room leaving her gathering the mattress together to lie down on.

He said that there was about four feet between her sleeping place and the wall and that there was a little round table in that space. He noted that the boy had a mattress in the pantry on top of some boxes.

He said that after he went to bed he heard no more of Alice Wiggins, but said that when he went down on the Sunday morning at about 10am he saw Alice Wiggins dead against the wall under the round table, grasping the table with one hand.

He said that the moment that he caught sight of her face he rushed to her and put his hand on her features but found that they were cold. He said that he then shouted for a neighbour and a doctor was then sent for.

At the inquest he denied having struck Alice Wiggins any other blows other than the one to her face or having kicked her.

When Alice Wiggins's husband was asked how he thought Alice Wiggins had received her injury to her head, he said that she might have hit her head against the table.

Alice Wiggins's 13-year-old son said that before the noise on the Saturday night Alice Wiggins had been drinking during the day and had sent him to pawn some things at the pawnshop and that he had bought for her during the day something like sixteen or more half-pints of beer. He corroborated his father's story of Alice Wiggins's drunken assault and said that during the bother Alice Wiggins had got his father on the floor and had tried to strangle him, but said that after that things quietened down. He said that after his father went to bed and Alice Wiggins was lying down on the mattress, he asked her 'Are you all right' and said that she replied, 'Yes'. He said that he then went to his bed in the pantry and fell asleep immediately and did not hear anything of his mother during the night.

He said that he was awoken in the morning by the sound of his father saying, 'Mrs Wiggins is dead!'. He said that he then ran out of the pantry and got his uncle.

The doctor that carried out the post-mortem said that Alice Wiggins's death was due to a large clot of blood, weighing 4oz, which laid on her brain and that immediately above the clot there was a bruise on her scalp. He said that he considered that her death was due to external violence and that the clot must have been caused by an unusually violent blow.

Another doctor agreed with the findings of the first doctor and added that in his opinion that her injury was not likely to have been produced by a fall.

An open verdict was returned.

Kenyon Terrace was either off or part of Kenyon Street, or possibly the part between Kenyon Street and Mary Street, and has now been redeveloped.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Birmingham Mail - Wednesday 15 August 1906

see Birmingham Daily Gazette - Thursday 16 August 1906

see National Library of Scotland