Unsolved Murders

Henry Alfred Dobbs

Age: 20

Sex: male

Date: 22 Jul 1927

Place: Chepstow Mansions, Bayswater, London

Henry Alfred Dobbs was found dead in the cellar of a chemist at Chepstow Mansions in Chepstow Place, Bayswater.

He died from prussic acid poisoning but it was not known how he came to take it.

Henry Dobbs had lived in Hereford Road, Bayswater.

He was last seen by an errand boy on Wednesday night 13 July 1927. The errand boy, who had lived in Chippenham Road, Paddington and who also worked at the chemist, said that when he arrived the following day, Thursday 14 July 1927 at 9am he found the shop shut. He said that after his employer opened the shop that he went to Henry Dobbs's home but was told that he had not been home all night. When he then returned to the shop and went down into the cellar he found Henry Dobbs lying on his face amongst some boxes.

The chemist said that Henry Dobbs had been his assistant and that he had told him before that he had had a fit when he was a child. He said that Henry Dobbs had always seemed happy and that he had been quite as usual on the Wednesday evening.

He said that when he arrived at the shop on the Thursday morning he found that Henry Dobbs had not opened it and that shortly after the errand boy went down into the cellar and then rushed back up and said, 'He is down there'.

The chemist said that when he went down into the cellar that he found Henry Dobbs lying about a yard from the foot of the stairs. He said that he seemed to be dead and that he then went for assistance.

He said that the police later found a bottle of chloroform. At the inquest he noted that he had locked up all the poisons before leaving the shop the previous night. Two other prussic acid bottles were also found under a sack close to where Henry Dobbs was lying. The inquest heard that one of them must have been full and that the other partly so but that by the time of the inquest they were both empty.

The pathologist said that Henry Dobbs's cause of death was asphyxia due to the effect of swallowing prussic acid.

When the Coroner summed up he said that they were brought up against a blank wall when they asked, 'Why did he take the poison?', and said that there was just the possibility that it had happened accidently.

He went on to say that in view of the 'entire lack of evidence', that an open verdict should be recorded.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see West London Observer - Friday 22 July 1927