Unsolved Murders

John Francis Reilly

Age: 40

Sex: male

Date: 14 Sep 1963

Place: Scunthorpe

John Francis Reilly died from a fractured skull after having been put out of two hotels in Scunthorpe on 13 September 1963.

However, there was insufficient evidence to charge two people with manslaughter and an open verdict was returned.

After the incidents he was taken to the Sheffield Royal Infirmary where he died on 14 September 1963.

After the incidents at the two public houses, John Reilly was arrested for being drunk and taken to a police station and a doctor was called for him several hours later.

At the inquest, the Coroner said:

I am not prepared to offer any criticism of the Scunthorpe Police.

The inquest heard that the police had interviewed 32 people in connection with John Reilly's death and that statements had been submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions. However, the Coroner noted:

It has been decided that there is not enough evidence against two named persons to justify either of them being charged with manslaughter.

A police inspector stated that John Reilly had been addicted to alcohol and had a number of previous convictions for being drunk, noting that he had not been welcome in three public houses, the Oswald Hotel, the Lord Roberts Hotel and the Britannia Hotel.

However, he said that on 13 September 1963, John Reilly had been unwilling to leave two of the hotels when asked to do so, it being noted that he had been objectionably drunk.

The police inspector said:

It appears that he was in the Lord Roberts Hotel when he was shoved, apparently on the shoulder. A blow glanced by his face, and he staggered down some steps, rolled along the wall and finished in a sitting position. At another public house he was pushed away from the bar so that he fell hitting his head. Another version said he was butted on the head.

The Coroner commented:

He was asked to leave the hotels, and was put out with some violence. It would be impossible to tell on which occasion he suffered the injury, or whether it was another occasion.

The police inspector noted:

John Reilly had been a rather fine young man until he suffered hardship during the war years.

The chief inspector said that John Reilly had been arrested and taken to a cell at 3pm and that the doctor was called at 7.15pm after John Reilly had been choking. He noted that there had been no visible signs of injury.

The Coroner said:

If a doctor had been called earlier it would have been unlikely that the symptoms would have developed to suggest brain injury. But I would like to think, generally speaking, that when a man is drunk or unconscious he should be seen by a doctor. I have no idea whether this is practicable.

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Grimsby Daily Telegraph - Tuesday 05 November 1963