Unsolved Murders

Edith Bowring

Age: 35

Sex: female

Date: 22 Jan 1923

Place: River Thames, Purfleet

Edith Bowring was found dead in the River Thames.

She had head injuries and it was said that her death was not due to drowning.

She had lived in Elmers Road, Cannonbury and had been missing since Tuesday 23 January 1923. She was described as having been attractive in appearance and was the wife of a cabinet maker. They had married about 18 months earlier. She had previously been a cook in good situations.

Her husband said that he left her in their home at Alma Road in Cannonbury on the evening of Tuesday 23 January 1923 and that that was the last he saw of her, stating that when he later returned she wasn't there. He noted that she had been rather dispirited at the time because he had been out of work, but that when he found that she was not there that he came to the conclusion that she had gone to her parent’s place in West Thurrock, not far from where her body was later found.

A woman that had lived in the same house as Edith Bowring in Elmers Road said that Edith Bowring and her husband had lived on affectionate terms, but that she was not of a cheerful disposition. She said, 'She was what I would term a hysterical woman. She was up one day and down another'. She added that when she first missed Edith Bowring that her husband told her that she had gone to her mother's.

A woman that saw Edith Bowring on Thursday 11 January 1923, said that she had been depressed because her husband was out of work and worried because they had been spending money that had been put aside for their home.

The police said that they failed to find any trace of Edith Bowring having taken a train to Purfleet that night and having walked towards her home and noted that she didn't call on her parents.

It was noted that little articles of jewellery that Edith Bowring wore were found on her body, but that there was no money, which she would normally carry in her small black handbag.

The doctor that examined Edith Bowring's body said that the injuries to her head were sufficient to have caused death, and that they were consistent with either a fall or blows. He said that they were consistent with her having received a very violent blow from behind, or by a fall on a hard substance.

Her inquest returned the verdict that death was due to injuries to the head, but that there was not sufficient evidence to say how she came by them.

The Larne Times on Saturday 27 January 1923 submitted that the questions were, how were her injuries inflicted and what were her movements after she left her home, and was she followed and deliberately attacked on the road from Purfleet Station to her parent's home. The newspaper stated that one theory put forward was that of the sinister figure of the man in the red mask, the armed highway robber, who had recently appeared in the Essex villages not a great distance from Purfleet, and that he had had some association with her death.

An open verdict was returned at her inquest.

It was noted that she was found dead in the river at about the same time as William James Clark and that in each case, death was not due to drowning. They were both found in the River Thames at Purfleet within half-a-mile of each other on succeeding days. However, it was additionally noted that no further connection between them could be made.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Yorkshire Evening Post - Monday 05 February 1923

see Larne Times - Saturday 27 January 1923

see Northern Whig - Wednesday 24 January 1923

see Lancashire Evening Post - Monday 05 February 1923