Unsolved Murders

John William Phillips

Age: 74

Sex: male

Date: 10 Mar 1961

Place: Petitor Crescent, Bell Green, Coventry

John William Phillips died from strangulation.

His son-in-law was tried for his murder but acquitted.

At the trial his son said that he knotted the scarf around John Phillips's neck as he requested, adding that John Phillips had said, 'Okay' and that as far as he knew that John Phillips died from natural causes.

John Phillips was an invalid, suffered from silicosis and was partly paralysed and had lived with his daughter and son-in-law for 12 years.

His wife said that her husband had cared devotedly for John Phillips.

The pathologist that carried out the post mortem gave John Phillips's cause of death as strangulation by ligature. However, he added that John Phillips had been very ill and might have otherwise died within a week.

However, the defence said that they believed that John Phillips's cause of death was due to heart failure caused by pneumonia, or due to vagal inhibition, that being the excitation of the vagus nerve which controls the heartbeats.

The jury retired for 40 minutes before returning with their not guilty verdict.

Following the acquittal, the son-in-law said, 'During the three months I have been in custody awaiting trial I was never worried about the verdict. I worried only about the strain on my wife'.

His wife said, 'I never had the slightest doubt of my husband's innocence. Now we are going home to forget about the whole tragic business'.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Birmingham Daily Post - Friday 10 March 1961