Unsolved Murders

Doris May Brumpton

Age: 29

Sex: female

Date: 18 May 1932

Place: St Annes Villas, Kensington

Doris May Brumpton died from morphia poisoning. An open verdict was returned.

She was a nurse and was living with a doctor as man and wife in St Anne's Villa, Kensington where she was found dead.

The Coroner returned an open verdict stating that he felt quite satisfied that there was no suspicion of murder but that it was quite impossible to say whether Doris Brumpton had committed suicide or had accidentally taken an overdose. However, her death was described as mysterious and her family said that they did not think she had committed suicide..

The doctor had met Doris Brumpton in 1929 when she was a nurse at a home in Manor Park where he had been a patient for chest and drug trouble following use of morphia and cocaine.

The doctor had later been the medical superintendent of a nursing home for drug addicts and alcoholics in Harrow, Weald Park for two months until it closed.

Her father said, 'We knew my daughter had been away at some seaside resorts nursing a doctor during the winter. We first knew of her friendship with the doctor eight or nine months ago, but did not know that she was living with him. When I arrived at the house the doctor told me he was married and living apart from his wife, and that he had been living with my daughter pending a divorce. The doctor told me that he went out on Monday night to his laboratory, and when he returned at 2am he found my daughter in a dying condition in bed. He said he rushed for a doctor, and after some delay obtained medical assistance, but she was dead'.

The pathologist said that Doris Brumpton had died from morphia poisoning but the doctor said that he had never known her to take morphia. However, it was heard that no hypodermic syringe was found but there were two bruises on her body.

The Coroner asked the doctor why he had not put himself in the hands of a doctor instead of a nurse with whom he was living as man and wife and the doctor said that he was indirectly under another doctor for treatment.

The Coroner then asked the doctor whether he had written prescriptions prescribing morphia for her and he replied, 'To give to me'. The Coroner noted that he had received 189 grains of morphia on prescriptions written by himself and his doctor who was also his friend and asked if he had ever supplied anyone else and he said, 'No'.

The Coroner then read out an extract from a letter written by him stating that he had let another patient have morphia and the doctor replied by saying that you cannot shut them off morphia all at once.

The friend that had been treating him said that he was a consulting physician to the Almeric Paget Institute in Islington and that he believed that he could call himself a specialist in the treatment of drug addicts. He said that he had first met the doctor in September 1930 and said that he had made excellent progress in his nursing home in Manor Park. When the doctor was asked whether he thought that it was not absolutely futile to prescribe large amounts of morphia for a man he was trying to cure without having him under supervision, the doctor replied, 'Without it he might have collapsed and died'.

The Coroner then asked the doctor why he had appointed a man who himself was a drug addict as a medical superintendent of a home for drug addicts and the doctor said that the doctor’s duties were purely nominal and that he thought he had recovered.

The Coroner said that a less suitable person to be placed in charge of drug addicts than this man it is difficult to think of, for not only did he himself take drugs in large quantities, but he supplied other people with them, abusing his position as medical superintendent at the home by getting drugs from local chemists'.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Edinburgh Evening News - Wednesday 18 May 1932

see Birmingham Daily Gazette - Wednesday 18 May 1932

see Leeds Mercury - Wednesday 18 May 1932

see Gloucester Citizen - Saturday 23 April 1932

see Lincolnshire Echo - Saturday 23 April 1932