Unsolved Murders

Lewis George Tomlin

Age: 61

Sex: male

Date: 22 Mar 1932

Place: Mickleover

Lewis George Tomlin was found dead in a box.

He was a coach-body builder and mounter and was found in a chest in his workshop in Mickleover.

The doctor that carried out his post-mortem stated that there were no marks of violence beyond a slight bruise on his right hand. He said that his organs were all healthy other than his lungs which were congested. He said that he thought that death had taken place 46 to 48 hours before he was found and that death was due to asphyxia from being enclosed in a small air-tight box which did not allow sufficient fresh air for healthy breathing.

The doctor said that there was no evidence of poisoning or that he had had a seizure.

His sister said that on Thursday Lewis Tomlin went to sleep after reading and that when he woke up he was in an agitated state and had said, 'If I can't get off the panel I shall never get back on the Labour Exchange, and I shall never be employed again'. She said that he then went out and that there was no response when she called him for tea.

Lewis Tomlin had been out of regular work since May 1930 and in August his unemployment benefit was reduced to transitional benefit and it was heard that he had formed the opinion that it was a form of parish relief and that it had worried him.

It was also heard that he had been attended for a nervous breakdown and had had attacks of ague and that he was fearful of people seeing him in them and that he was apprehensive of there being visitors to the house for Easter.

His sister said that she had not noticed until Friday morning that some of his tools had been removed from the box.

It was heard that his brother had searched the district for Lewis Tomlin and that the day after he had gone missing he had suggested opening the box in the workshop but that his sister had replied 'That's silliness. He could not possibly be in there'.  She had also added that it contained his tools and private papers and that Lewis Tomlin had always kept the key. However, in her absence, the brother and another brother forced the spring lock on the box and found Lewis Tomlin dead inside in a sitting position with his knees being drawn up.

The Coroner said that in the circumstances, the brothers should have insisted upon the box being opened sooner.

The chest was 24 inches in length, 19 inches in width and 24 inches in depth and was brought into the court for display.

The Coroner returned an open verdict and said that how he had got into the chest would probably remain a mystery.

He added that it was regretted that members of his family did not make an earlier search of it, notwithstanding the improbability of their brother being in it.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail - Tuesday 22 March 1932

see Nottingham Evening Post - Tuesday 22 March 1932