Unsolved Murders

Rose Ann Harsent

Age: 23

Sex: female

Date: 1 Jun 1902

Place: Providence House, Peasenhall, Suffolk

Rose Harsent was found dead at the bottom of the stairs in her nightdress. Her clothes were partly burnt and there was a lot of blood about her left side.

A man was tried for her murder but acquitted.

She was killed between 1-2am. Her body was found by her father in the morning who had taken her clean linen to Providence House and entered via the back through the vinery to find her dead on the kitchen floor. She had been partially burnt. Her night dress was partially burnt and there was a newspaper under her head which was burnt all round the edges.

Also found in the kitchen were pieces of a broken medicine bottle. The label from the bottle referred to the children of the man that was tried for her murder.

Her bed had not been slept in.

The surgeon's examination of her body noted cuts on her hands caused by warding off blows and her body was much charred.

At the time of her death she was 6 months pregnant.

A letter was found asking her to leave a light on in her window for 10 minutes at 10pm and then they would meet at 12 midnight. The letter read:

'DR, I will try to see you tonight at twelve o'clock at your place. If you put a light in your window at ten o'clock for about ten minutes then you can take it out again. Don't have a light in your room at twelve o'clock as I will come round to the back'.

It was said that the man that was tried had written the letter and lived close by. The prosecution also said that they traced his rubber soled footprints from his house to Peasenhall in the ground that had been softened by the rain. The prosecution also said that he had used the paraffin from the medicine bottle to burn her body but had not been able to open it and so had smashed it but had left the label behind without thinking.

The defence said that the bottle was given to Rose Harsent by the wife of the man who was tried for her murder and had contained camphorated oil, something that a witness confirmed.

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

see en.wikipedia.org

see National Archives - HD1664/1, HD1664/2/1

see Internet Archive for full trial transcrpt

see Western Times - Monday 10 November 1902

see Yorkshire Evening Post - Friday 30 January 1903

see Evening Telegraph - Thursday 22 January 1903

see Dover Express - Friday 30 January 1903

see Framlingham Weekly News - Saturday 04 April 1903

see Northampton Mercury - Friday 23 January 1903

see Penny Illustrated Paper - Saturday 24 January 1903