Unsolved Murders

Elizabeth Whitelaw

Age: unknown

Sex: female

Date: 25 Apr 1924

Place: Leyborne Park, Kew Gardens

Elizabeth Whitelaw died from an abortion on Friday 25 April 1924.

An open verdict was returned.

Her husband, a consulting engineer, was censured at the inquest by the Coroner after it was heard that he had not conveyed certain information to a doctor that had been called out to attend to Elizabeth Whitelaw.

In his evidence, Elizabeth Whitelaw's husband said that Elizabeth Whitelaw had been a healthy woman and that he had married her in 1911 in China. He said that in the middle of February 1924 that she hinted to him she was in a certain condition. He also admitted that she had told him that she had been taking certain pills. 

The Coroner then said:

I am not going to say what the name of them is, but I see they come from New York and there is a sixpenny Government stamp on them. I think the Government might raise their revenue in a different way.

Elizabeth Whitelaw's husband then said that the doctor attended her on 18 April 1924 as she was unwell, and admitted that he had not told the doctor all he knew.

The Coroner then said:

I think you are very much to blame for not telling the doctor everything. People think themselves very smart at times to let the doctors find out things for themselves, and the result is that patients slip through their hands because of their not being told everything from the beginning.

A neighbour said that Elizabeth Whitelaw once told her that she didn't want any children. She said that she was present when the doctor saw Elizabeth Whitelaw, but said that she didn't tell him everything. However, he said that as Elizabeth Whitelaw didn't get any better, that she thought it her duty to tell her father what had happened and leave it to him to use his own discretion about telling the doctor.

The doctor said that he had been called to see Elizabeth Whitelaw at Leyborne Park on 18 April 1924 and found her to be suffering from acute pains, with a high temperature and rapid pulse.

He said that it soon became apparent that it was a case of septic abortion and that injections and other remedies were resorted to, but without avail, and she died on 25 April.

He said that he had since made a post-mortem examination and found that death was due to blood poisoning caused by abortion.

When questioned by the Coroner, he said that had he been told of what Elizabeth Whitelaw had done a week before her death that he didn't think he could have saved her, although he said that naturally he would have had a better chance. He said:

I was suspicious from the first, though it was not for me to suggest anything, I was waiting for information.

The Coroner then recorded an open verdict.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Richmond Herald - Saturday 03 May 1924