Unsolved Murders

Thomas Foster Brayshaw

Age: 4

Sex: male

Date: 22 May 1946

Place: Padiham Road, Burnley

Thomas Foster Brayshaw died from a fractured skull after he fell from a wall and hit his head.

He said that he had been pushed off a wall by two boys. He was later taken to the Marsden Road Infectious Diseases Hospital where he died. Before he died he complained that he had been pushed off the wall.

The coroner returned an open verdict stating that there was not sufficient evidence to show how he came by his injury.

He had lived at 6 Gloucester Street in Burnley and had attended Hagergham School.

His father said that his wife was in hospital and that as such arrangements had been made for a neighbour to look after him until he returned from his work at the colliery where he was employed as an electrician.

The woman who Thomas Brayshaw had been left with lived at 732 Padiham Road in Burnley said that she had looked after Thomas Brayshaw whilst his father was at work and that at some time between 3.30pm and 4pm on 9 May 1946 Thomas Brayshaw came in but that she was mopping and so asked him to go outside until she had finished. However, she said that Thomas Brayshaw started to cry and told her that he didn't want to go outside as two boys had pushed him down.

The woman said that she then had occasion to go out and that when she returned shortly afterwards her 16-year-old daughter told her that Thomas Brayshaw had fallen from a chair that he had been sitting in as though he had been in a faint and that she had then taken him home.

The woman said that when she saw Thomas Brayshaw when he came in whilst she was mopping, he didn't appear to be seriously hurt and that he had no sign of an injury.

She later added that she tried to make enquiries to find out who the boys Thomas Brayshaw had mentioned were but that she was unable to identify them.

She said that there was a small wall about 3ft 6in tall near the school and that she had previously seen Thomas Brayshaw as well as other children playing on it.

Thomas Brayshaw's father said that when he got back on Thursday 9 May 1946, Thomas Brayshaw complained to him that he had been pulled off a wall and had banged his head on the ground. He said that Thomas Brayshaw slept with him that night and seemed restless and said that his breathing was rather heavy. He said that he then sent for a doctor who examined Thomas Brayshaw and found that he had a high temperature and gave him some tablets, saying that he suspected that he had scarlet fever.

However, when Thomas Brayshaw started to have convulsions, he was taken to the Infectious Diseases Hospital. It was noted that Thomas Brayshaw had suffered from convulsions since he was a baby.

A teacher at Habergham school said that Thomas Brayshaw was intelligent, well behaved and not precocious. She said that he was in her class and that she later saw him over Padiham Road after school with some other children from her class and said that he appeared to be in his usual good health and quite normal and said that he made no complaint to her. She said that the children were all playing about on a stone wall near the school which was normal and that she made inquiries but could not find anyone that had seen Thomas Brayshaw fall.

When the doctor examined Thomas Brayshaw at the post mortem, he said that he found Thomas Brayshaw had a fracture at the base of his skull with a haemorrhage into his skull, noting that the fracture had torn a vein slightly and that it was bleeding into his skull. He noted that it could have been caused by him jumping off the wall on to his heels.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Burnley Express - Wednesday 22 May 1946