Unsolved Murders

Doris Ena Kimber

Age: 24

Sex: female

Date: 7 Oct 1927

Place: 17 Croft Road, Bromley, London

Doris Ena Kimber died from peritonitis following a suspected illegal operation on Saturday 1 October 1927.

She had lived at 17 Croft Road in Bromley, London with her mother and also died there.

The jury heard that she had died from peritonitis brought about by an internal injury but they could not decide whether its cause was intentional or accidental and an open verdict was returned.

Her mother, who was a widow, said that Doris Kimber had been very 'nervy' since her father died in November 1926 although said that she was a naturally cheerful girl who spent most of her evenings with a young man.

She said that Doris Kimber spent about two evenings a week at home but that on the other occasions she went out with the young man straight from work, returning home at 10pm or 10.30pm. She noted that Doris Kimber was not away from home quite so much before Whitsun.

She said that Doris Kimber and the young man were not engaged as far as she knew and said that she had never heard Doris Kimber speak of other men friends.

Doris Kimber's mother said that until the preceding Wednesday she had had no suspicion of Doris Kimber's condition and was informed of it by one of Doris Kimber's friends in New Cross upon whom Doris Kimber had called.

She said that Doris Kimber went to business again on the following day, saying that she seemed quite bright and that she returned home at the usual time, 7.30pm and went to bed at about 10.30pm. However, she said that the following morning, Friday, Doris Kimber didn't go to business  and instead lay on her bed all afternoon.

She said that in consequence of what happened early in the evening that a doctor was called and that she again went for the doctor at 4am on the Saturday at which time he gave Doris Kimber two tablets. However, she said that when the doctor returned to the house at about 9am the same morning that he ordered her removal to the hospital.

Doris Kimber's mother said that about half-an-hour after the doctor left the house to make arrangements for Doris Kimber's admittance to the hospital that she had to call him again and that Doris Kimber died just before he arrived.

She said that before Doris Kimber died that she managed to say, 'I'm dying, I'm dying, send for the doctor'.

She noted that when Doris Kimber had returned home from business on the Tuesday the previous week that she had told her that she had been to Olympia in the afternoon where her firm had had a stand.

Doris Kimber's friend from New Cross said that she had known Doris Kimber for about four years and that she had come to see her on the Monday and confessed her condition to her, denying that her young man had been responsible. She said that Doris Kimber had also told her that she had taken a lot of pills that cost 36s a box and threatened to do away with herself. She said that Doris Kimber left her home at about 8.40pm and that her son followed her and walked with her to the railway station.

She said that Doris Kimber came to see her again the following day, Tuesday, and told her that she would rather commit suicide than tell her mother what had happened.

She said that Doris Kimber called to see her again on the Wednesday on her way home from business between 7pm and 8pm and that she afterwards went home with Doris Kimber to explain matters to her mother.

She said that she later went to Doris Kimber's home on the Saturday, arriving shortly after Doris Kimber passed away. She said that when she and Doris Kimber's mother then searched Doris Kimber's handbag that they found three bottles, two containing tablets and one empty along with a cardboard box containing pills.

A doctor who lived in Burnt Ash Lane said that he determined that Doris Kimber's cause of death was peritonitis following an internal injury and that he was of the opinion that some instrument might have been used on the Thursday and was also of the opinion that her injury was possibly self-inflicted. He added that he would not have described Doris Kimber as a healthy woman.

The departmental manager of the firm that Doris Kimber worked for who lived in Halesworth Road in Lewisham said that Doris Kimber had been employed with the firm since May 1926 and that her work was satisfactory.

He said that on the Tuesday Doris Kimber had asked for permission to be absent for two hours in the afternoon saying that her mother was not well and that she had one or two things to arrange. He said that he agreed that she could take the afternoon off and said that she did so. He said that she later telephoned him at 4.30pm and asked if she needed to return and he said that he told her that she didn't.

He said that he had found Doris Kimber to be a very bright girl and said that she had been on good terms with everybody in the office.

A police detective based at Peckham said that on 1 October 1927 that he searched the bedroom in which Doris Kimber lay and in a washstand drawer he found a crochet needle and other articles.

He further stated that he had made inquiries regarding Doris Kimber's associates and found that it appeared she was of good character. He noted that he had not been able to trace any male acquaintances and that he was satisfied that her young man had not been responsible. He added that he was also of the opinion that Doris Kimber's mother and her friend from New Cross were also blameless in connection with the affair.

The young man that Doris Kimber had been seeing had been employed at a branch office of the firm that Doris Kimber had worked for and said that he had been keeping company with her since 17 June 1927.

After hearing the evidence the jury at the inquest returned an open verdict stating that Doris Kimber's death was caused by peritonitis due to an injury but that the evidence did not conclusively show whether the injury had been inflicted purposely or accidently.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Bromley & West Kent Mercury - Friday 07 October 1927