Unsolved Murders

Mary Swinbourne

Age: 50

Sex: female

Date: 3 Oct 1903

Place: Aggboro Lane, Kidderminster

Mary Swinbourne was murdered in Kidderminster. A man that she had been hop picking with was tried for her murder but acquitted.

She was killed on the Saturday night and found the next morning by a cowman on his way to a farmhouse. When the doctor arrived he found that her body was still warm.

There were signs of a struggle 2 to3 yards away and her body had been dragged to where it was found.

Mary Swinbourne had come from Walsall where she had been a workhouse inmate and was presumed to have been hop picking in the hop picking district.

In a bundle near her body they found a Roman Catholic Bible and tickets used by hop pickers.

It was thought that she had been killed by someone that had been accompanying her or who had casually met her. Robbery was not thought to have been the motive but the newspapers described her body as having been fiendishly mutilated.

The police found that she had been stabbed in the neck, slashed on the breast and had cuts on other parts of her body that resembled those inflicted on the victims of the Whitechapel murders.

The man who was charged with her murder had been seen in Lincombe, Hartlebury on the Sunday morning at 8.30am when he had gone to a farm house and asked for some hot water. The farm labourer and his wife said that he had seemed very much put out as if something was the matter.

When he was in Kidderminster Police station on 27 October at about 5.20pm he had asked to be allowed to have a newspaper and was bought the Kidderminster Shuttle which he read aloud detailing his case and then said 'The only evidence against me on the Sunday after the murder is by that man at Hartlebury where I went for the water, but he told a dam lie when he said he see me in that lane twice after. I was many miles away from here then I have been to many a dozen houses with my old oon.'

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

see discovery.nationalarchives.co.uk

see Hull Daily Mail - Wednesday 10 February 1904

see Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Friday 15 January 1904

see Gloucestershire Echo - Monday 05 October 1903

see Whitby Gazette - Friday 09 October 1903

see National Archives - ASSI 6/39/2