Date: 2 Mar 1952
Alice Eliza Stevens was found dead with head injuries on 2 March 1952 in the hallway to her flat.
It was thought that she had fallen but it was not known how. She had gone out drinking the night before, but it was said that when her post mortem was carried out that there was no alcohol in her system.
The police said that there was no evidence of foul play and an open verdict was returned.
Her brother-in-law who lived next door said that he had not spoken to her for several years. It was noted that her husband had died about three months earlier.
He said that he went out on 1 March 1952 to his club in Lake Road and returned home to Durban Homes at 10.15pm, noting that there was no sign of anybody in the hall at the time and that during the night he heard no unusual sounds.
However, he said that when he got up the following morning between 7.50am and 8am and went out he found Alice Stevens lying underneath the stairs. He said that her hat, handbag, glasses and latch-key were near her door.
He said that he then called a neighbour who summoned the police.
It was heard that Alice Stevens had gone out the evening before to a public house in Crasswell Street. The licensee there said that she visited his house at about 6.10pm on 1 March 1952 and that he served her with half a pint of beer and then another half pint about 15 minutes later. He said that that was all the beer that he served her and that he didn't see her again until about 9.40pm when he saw her dancing to a tune that was being played on a piano.
It was later determined that Alice Stevens had left the public house at about 7pm and had in fact gone to two other public-houses before returning and it was said that there was evidence that she had purchased only four half-pints during the evening.
The police surgeon that carried out her post mortem said that her death was due to a fractured skull and contused brain and said that there was no evidence of violence and no sign of alcohol in her stomach.
He said that her brain injury was consistent with a fall in which she had struck her head on the concrete in the hall.
A theory was put forward at the inquest stating that she might have fallen twice, firstly in attempting to climb the stairs, which resulted in her becoming stunned, and secondly, whilst in a dazed state, that she had fallen more heavily and struck her head on the concrete.
It was noted that there was no evidence that she had been under the influence of drink at the time, and that neither was there any evidence of foul play.
see Portsmouth Evening News - Tuesday 11 March 1952
see Uxbridge & W. Drayton Gazette - Friday 21 March 1952
see Portsmouth Evening News - Wednesday 05 March 1952