Unsolved Murders

Irene Clayden

Age: 18

Sex: female

Date: 7 Jul 1963

Place: Southcroft Road, Tooting, London

Irene Clayden died from a miscarriage following an instrumental abortion.

She died at her home in Southcroft Road, Tooting on 7 June 1963. She was found by her mother in a dying condition in her bedroom when she returned home from shopping.

She had been a petrol-pump attendant.

Her inquest heard that before she died that she had recieved a letter from a man overseas asking her to marry him. However, it was noted that he could not have been the father of her child because of the time involved. When the Coroner summed up, he mentioned the letter, saying:

This could well explain the state of affairs that led to her death.

Irene Clayden had had a miscarriage the year before and when she again became pregnant, she told her mother, but didn't say what she planned to do about it.

A syringe was found in the kitchen drawer of her house. When asked about it, her mother said:

I have had it for years. Irene knew it was in the kitchen drawer.

She added that she saw Irene Clayden with the syringe the day before her death, adding that she told her that she had just used it, but hadn't told her what for.

She said that Irene Clayden was ill the following day during lunch and went upstairs to lie down. She said that Irene Clayden was ill again in her bedroom and she sent for a doctor, but before he arrived she appeared to fall asleep.

The pathologist that carried out the post mortem examination said that Irene Clayden had been pregnant for two and a half to three months and that her death was the result of an air embolism, air getting into the blood circulation, following an abortion.

An open verdict was returned, with the Coroner noting that Irene Clayden had had every opportunity to syringe herself, and could well have carried out the abortion herself, but that the evidence was not complete and the circumstances had not been fully explained.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see South Western Star - Friday 19 July 1963

see South Western Star - Friday 14 June 1963