Unsolved Murders

Gloria Dougherty

Age: 22

Sex: female

Date: 7 Aug 1961

Place: Tarrington Close, Willington Square, Wallsend

Gloria Dougherty fell 120 feet from a balcony at a 14-storey block of flats on 7 August 1961.

However, no one knew why she was there and there were no eye witnesses to the fall.

She was last seen standing in the balcony of the top floor flat and was later found dead on the pavement below.

An open verdict was returned at her inquest in North Shields at the Tynemouth Infirmary on 10 August 1961.

A woman that had lived on the top floor of Tarrington Close in Willington Square said that she saw a woman in a black and white check coat on a balcony near her home looking out. She said, 'She was not looking over, merely standing'.

Shortly after, a man that had been on his way home in Nearby Tiverton Close, said that he heard a shout for someone to attend to a woman who had fallen and that when he went to look he found a woman wearing a black and white check coat.

The balcony had had a 3ft 6in rail.

A doctor that examined her body said that Gloria Dougherty died from shock and multiple injuries.

Gloria Dougherty had been a teacher in Dagenham, Essex but had been home in Fawdon, Newcastle-upon-Tyne at the time.

Her father, who lived in Edgefield Avenue, Fawdon, suggested that she might have been at Willington Square because she might have imagined that she had been 300 miles away at her aunts flat in Dagenham, Essex, noting that she lived in a block of five-storey flats that were identical to those at Wallsend except for the height.

He noted that Gloria Dougherty had lost her memory twice before. He said that on one occasion she had been in Byker and had then suddenly found herself in Heddon-on-the-Wall, saying, 'She did not know how she came to be there'.

He said that on 7 August 1961 that Gloria Dougherty had left home intending to go to the Ministry of Pensions office in Newcastle.

Gloria Dougherty's mother said, 'Gloria was teaching at a secondary modern school at Dagenham, Essex, and lived with an aunt in a multi-story block of flats similar to those at Wallsend. She was a very vivacious and happy girl, but she had anaemia. This week she did not get the special tablets she had to take for her complaint. When this happened in the past she sometimes suffered from loss of memory. She left here at 11.30 on Tuesday morning to go to the Ministry of Pensions office in Queen's Square, Newcastle, to settle a query about her national insurance card. She did not return. Later in the evening we learned that she had died at Wallsend. I believe that he hustle and bustle of the centre of Newcastle must have made her lose her memory. I am positive she then believed she was back in Essex and somehow found herself in Wallsend and thought the block of flats was her term-time home. She had everything to live for. She enjoyed her work tremendously and had her life planned out for years ahead'.

She added that Gloria Dougherty had graduated from Leicester University in 1960 with an honours degree in science and could have had positions at several grammar schools but had decided she could do better work in a secondary modern school.

She said that Gloria Dougherty didn't get her supply of tablets because her doctor had been on holiday and that she had not wanted to trouble his locum, adding, 'She was always so considerate and kind'.

The tower blocks at Willington Square were later demolished.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Newcastle Journal - Friday 11 August 1961

see Newcastle Evening Chronicle - Thursday 10 August 1961

see Newcastle Journal - Thursday 10 August 1961