Unsolved Murders


Age: unknown

Sex: female

Date: 16 Oct 1903

Place: Brook Cottages, Minster, Isle of Thanet

A woman thought to have been Charlotte Turk was found in a hut with a fractured skull. At the time her identity was uncertain but in 1906 a woman went to the police station in Sandwich and said that she was Charlotte Turk.

The Coroner's jury also added that there was not enough evidence to show that it was Charlotte Turk who had died.

She was discovered in a disused cottage at Brook Cottages, a short distance from Minster.

Her body was found by a group of people that had gone into the cottage next door to get out of the rain and to have a meal there. A labourer who had been part of the group and had been working in the Parish of Minster for around ten years on and off said that on 8 October 1903 he had been with another man and two other woman when they had gone into the cottage.

He said that he first saw the body of Charlotte Turk through the window when they first arrived but didn't know the body was dead. The other man said that he thought that there was a man and a woman lying in the room. They made a fire and made some tea and had some food. They were there for about an hour and a half and then the other man went off and one of the girls shouted out to the next cottage, 'Will you have a cup of tea, missus, it'll warm you'. Later, when they went in further, they thought it was a man asleep with a hat on his head but when they removed the hat they saw that it was a woman and that she was dead and went to fetch the police. They said that she appeared to have bruises on her face.

The labourer said that it was a common thing for people to doss in the cottage and that he had slept there himself a month previously.

One of the woman who had been with the man said that on 8 October 1903 they had been working in Wurtzel Field but that it had started to rain and so they had gone to Brook Cottages. She said that the man pointed out that there was someone in one of the cottages and they all went into the other one and scraped some wood together and made some tea. She said that they then sat around and dried their clothes. She said that after they had had their food the other man left to get some money and that she said to her friend, 'That woman must be cold, perhaps she'd like a cup of tea'. She said that she called out to the woman but that she didn't answer and that when she looked in she became frightened. She said that she then told the labourer and they agreed to wait until the other man came back and when he did the man went in to see if he could rouse her. She said that the two men then went in and then came out and told her that the woman was dead and that they then went to get the police.

The body was identified as being that of Charlotte Turk by a woman who knew her from the workhouse and said that she identified her by some of her missing teeth, but a policeman who said that he knew Charlotte Turk said the woman in the photo shown at the Coroner's inquest was not Charlotte Turk.

The doctor who examined her body said that her forehead was much bruised and that blood had been escaping from her ears and that there was blood about her nostrils. She also had an abrasion on the bridge of her nose and a bruise on the right side of her lower jaw. Other injuries included slight abrasions on both hands and knees as well as a wound on her right ear. When he later carried out a post-mortem he found that her skull was fractured at the base and came to the conclusion that death was due to a coma caused by the fracture.

He said that the fracture would have been caused by a blow but also stated that her skull was unusually thin. He said that her thought it was inflicted by a blunt instrument such as a boot and that she might have been kicked. He said that such an injury would have rendered her unconscious but would not kill her immediately.

The doctor said that the injury could not be caused by a normal fall. He said that it would be what he would expect from a fall of 30 to 40 feet.

A verdict of wilful murder was returned and the jury stated that there was not sufficient evidence to show who the deceased was.

In July 1906 a woman went to the Sandwich police station and said that she was Charlotte Turk. The police said that after questioning her they were satisfied that she was Charlotte Turk and determined that the identity of the body of the woman found at Brook Cottages was unknown.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Sheffield Daily Telegraph - Friday 16 October 1903

see Dundee Evening Telegraph - Monday 30 July 1906