Unsolved Murders

Reginald Stephenson

Age: 30

Sex: male

Date: 31 Aug 1954

Place: Old Racecourse Road, Maghull, Liverpool

Reginald Stephenson died from gas poisoning at a house that he was due to move into with his fiancee after their marriage.

An open verdict was returned.

He was found dead in a house at 19 Old Racecourse Road, Maghull, that he had planned to move into following his marriage at Christmas.

He was a commercial traveller and had lived with his fiancee in Evered Avenue, Liverpool. His body was found by his brother and finacee.

His brother said that because Reginald Stephenson had not been home on the Monday night that he and Reginald Stephenson's finacee went to the property in Old Racecourse Road on 31 August 1954 to look for him and that when they got there they found him in the scullery sat in an armchair with his feet on another chair near a gas stove.

Reginald Stephenson's finacee said that they had been engaged for four years and were to marry the following Christmas and that they had taken possession of the house in Old Racecourse Road the previous January 1954 to live in after their marriage. She said that she saw him during the evening of Monday 30 August 1954 from 6pm until about midnight and that during that time he had been in his usual state of health and had made no complaints, although she added that for the previous few days he had appeared nervy and troubled over some matter that he had not discussed with her.

Reginald Stephenson's finacee went on to say that when they met on the Monday night they had gone out to the pictures and that after they had gone to their future home in Old Racecourse Road but had left together at 11.20pm and returned  to her home in Liverpool where they parted at midnight. However, she said that he must have returned to Old Racecourse Road, noting that he had stayed there all night previously whilst doing some bookkeeping in connection with his work.

She added, 'We were to have been married at Christmas this year and arrangements had been made for the event'.

She noted that they had previously used the oven for heating in the past.

A policeman that went to the house said that all the gas taps were off except for the oven which was full on although he said that the oven door was closed. He said that it was possible that the gas oven could have been used for heating and that the light could have been blown out if the door had been closed quickly.

When the Coroner was asked at the inquest whether any attempt had been made to seal the scullery, Reginald Stephenson's fiancee said 'No, sir, the scullery door was open'.

At the inquest, the Coroner said, 'We do not really know what did happen in this sad case. There is no evidence to suggest that this man committed suicide. I have had inquiries made at the firm where he was employed and they say that everything was completely satisfactory so far as his work was concerned'. He also said, 'There is no evidence to suggest that this man committed suicide. He died from asphyxia due to carbon monoxide poisoning with insufficient evidence to show how it became administered'.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Liverpool Echo - Friday 03 September 1954

see Aberdeen Evening Express - Saturday 04 September 1954