Unsolved Murders

June Humphries

Age: 7

Sex: female

Date: 4 Dec 1948

Place: Penybryn, Pentre Broughton, Wrexham

Nancy Humphries and her three children, Ronald Humphries 9, June Humphries 7 and Gordon Humphries 2 died from poison.

A verdict that Nancy Humphries murdered her three children and then committed suicide whilst the balance of her mind was disturbed was returned.

Nancy Humphries was a native of Kings Mills near Wrexham. She had lived with her family in Penybryn with her husband who farmed cows and chickens.

They had lived in Penybryn, a hillside farm in Pentre Broughton, a property which was described as overlooking the local cinema. They were described locally by neighbours as a devoted family.

The bodies of Nancy Humphries and Gordon Humphries were found on the bedroom floor whilst the bodies of Ronald Humphries and June Humphries were found on the kitchen floor.

The police said that they thought that their deaths were due to an irritant poison and that they had found a bottle in the bedroom.

A man that lived in the village said, 'They were a very devoted couple, always laughing and full of fun. I was at the farm last night until 10.30, talking to the husband, and when I left I said 'Good-night' to Mrs Humphries, but she did not answer. She was lying on the sofa asleep. As the door shut behind me I heard the farmer lock it'.

A farmer that knew them said, 'I went up to the farm last night with a puppy. We were all laughing at its antics, and Mrs Humphries said, 'What a fine Christmas present it will make for Gordon'. They had just come back from a visit to the doctor, which is about 20 minutes’ walk across the hills. She did not say what happened there'.

Nancy Humphries's husband said that the family lived very happily but that Nancy Humphries was very highly strung and had recently had a groundless fear of pregnancy.

Her husband said that on the night of the deaths that Nancy Humphries had left their bedroom saying that she was going to make a cup of tea and on her return to the bedroom had put the light on low. He said 'I asked her where was the tea, but she did not answer. I then heard a trickling noise and she handed me a cup saying, 'drink up''. He said that it had a fumey smell and so he threw it away. He said that afterwards Nancy Humphries ran from the room and that after that he heard her say, 'Let's all go together' and he also heard one of the children screaming. He said that he then rushed to the children and found Ronald, who he said said to him, 'Mam gave us something out of the bottle'. He said that the two children were lying on the floor and that he then ran out of the house and went for help.

A doctor said that the poison was most deadly and that half a teaspoon would have been a fatal dose for an adult.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Liverpool Echo - Saturday 04 December 1948

see Manchester Evening News - Saturday 04 December 1948

see Dundee Courier - Saturday 18 December 1948

see Northern Whig - Saturday 18 December 1948