Unsolved Murders

Rosa Channing

Age: 49

Sex: female

Date: 2 Nov 1915

Place: Kings Mill

Rosa Channing died after falling out of a car.

She was married and had lived with her husband in Church Close, Dartmouth.

Rosa Channing had been out and was thought to have been going home. At about 5.05pm she was at Templecombe Station where she spoke to a chauffeur who said that she asked him if his car was engaged and that he had told her that it was not and that they then arranged terms for him to drive her to Marnhull. She was said to have had a small hand bag and umbrella with her at the time.

The chauffeur said that Rosa Channing didn't give him an address in Marhull. He said that he saw her into the car and noted that the off window was down, and that the door was closed. He also later confirmed that the fastenings on the doors were in perfect order.

He said that nothing happened until they got near King's Mill where he said that as they were driving along the bit of straight road near the mill he heard a noise on the side of the car and pulled up. He said that when he got off he saw Rosa Channing lying on the right-hand side of the road in the direction of Marnhull. He said that she was on her back with her head towards Marnhull.

He said that she must have come out of the off-side of the car. He said that the door was fastened and that it was his opinion that she had come out of the window, which was down.

When questioned by a juryman, the chauffeur said that he didn't think that it was the door slamming that he had heard. He said that it was more like Rosa Channing's foot striking the mud guard.

The chauffeur then said that with the assistance of two ladies that came along he put Rosa Channing into the car and that one of the ladies then went for a doctor. He said that Rosa Channing didn't speak.

The doctor said that he arrived shortly before 6pm and found Rosa Channing in the car. He said that she had a nasty wound on the back of her head and that blood was issuing from her nostrils showing that she had a bad fracture of the base of her skull. He said that she was quite unconscious and hopeless from the first. He said that he then bandaged her head and then advised her removal to the infirmary where she died on the Tuesday morning, 2 November 1915, at 4am from a coma following upon a bad fracture of the base of the skull.

Rosa Channing was said to have left home on the Saturday morning to see friends in Marnhul with whom she was going to stay for a fortnight. The friend said that Rosa Channing was her husband's sister and said that she hadn't seen her for ten years and was surprised to see her. She said that she then arranged for Rosa Channing to stay with her but said that on the Monday Rosa Channing expressed a wish to go home as she had had no letter. Her friend said that she tried to persuade Rosa Channing to stay saying that the letter that she was expecting might come on the Tuesday. She said that after dinner she asked Rosa Channing to go for a walk with her in the fields for a blow. She said that they went and then all at once Rosa Channing said that she would like to go and see her brother. The friend said that she then sent her little boy back to the house to see if he was back from Sturminster market and that just after she said that Rosa Channing said that she would go and meet her brother and left her by the field. She said that she didn't see Rosa Channing again.

She said that when her husband came home, Rosa Channing's brother, they talked about it and then wired Rosa Channing's husband to tell him.

It was noted that everything was happy for Rosa Channing at her home although it was heard that in the previous month Rosa Channing had had delusions that her neighbours were making fun of her.

The Coroner said that it was ascertained that Rosa Channing had got to Stalbridge where she had booked to Exeter, evidently intending to go home and possibly not being aware that she could have booked through to Dartmouth. He said that Rosa Channing had evidently suffered from nerves and had then gone to Templecombe but then presumably made up her mind to return to Marnhull, as her subsequent movements showed. From Templecombe Station she had then got into a car and after some time fell out, although there was no evidence to show how that had happened.

The jury returned an open verdict noting that they attached no blame to the chauffeur.

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Western Chronicle - Friday 05 November 1915, p 2