Unsolved Murders

Mary Taylor

Age: 9

Sex: female

Date: 9 Jun 1956

Place: Coleridge Road, Rotherham

Mary Taylor (daughter) and Mary Taylor (mother) died following a fire at their home in Coleridge Road, Rotherham.

The daughter died shortly after the fire whilst her mother died a while later after having jumped 15 feet out of a window into the arms of a policeman.

A policeman that was patrolling the area was alerted to the fire after hearing screams and when he went to the house he saw the mother in the bedroom window surrounded by flames and smoke.

The daughter was taken from the house by the police and firemen but died a few minutes after reaching the hospital.

At the inquest a milk bar manageress said that she had seen Mary Taylor's husband, father of the daughter, stumbling in the street about three hours before the fire and thought that he was drunk.

However, Mary Taylor's husband said that he had been sober when he had got home at 11pm and had smoked a cigarette in a chair after his wife and daughter went to bed and that when he later went to bed everything was alright. However, he said that he was later awoken to find the house full of smoke. He said that he remembered going downstairs to look and then returning upstairs but said that after that he remembered nothing until he woke up in hospital.

However, a policeman that saw Mary Taylor's husband soon after in hospital said that he thought that Mary Taylor's husband was drunk.

The Deputy Chief Fire Officer said that he thought that the fire had begun in the chair.

However, the Coroner at the inquest told the jury that he didn't think that the husband's behaviour 'deserved very strong censure', adding that 'drunkenness while no excuse or defence, is by itself no proof of criminal negligence. He might have dropped a lighted match or cigarette thinking he had put it out, even a sober person could have done the same thing'.

The jury then returned an open verdict.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Bradford Observer - Friday 02 November 1956

see Shields Daily News - Saturday 09 June 1956

see Belfast Telegraph - Saturday 09 June 1956