Unsolved Murders

Theresa Soper

Age: 52

Sex: female

Date: 10 May 1961

Place: Montrose Avenue, Luton, Bedfordshire

Theresa Soper died from pheno-barbitone poisoning on 10 May 1961.

An open verdict was returned at her inquest.

Some tablets were found by her bed but it was not known where she had got them from. The police said that they had contacted every chemist and doctor in the town regarding the matter but without luck.

However, it was noted that her husband had been a chemist, although he said that he had no idea where she got the tablets from but thought that she might have taken them whilst she was waiting for him at some time at his shop.

He was the manager of multiple chemists. He had also been the manager of the Leagrave Road branch of Boots the Chemist in Luton.

However, he denied having given her the drugs. He said, 'I did not obtain or administer the drugs. I have no idea where they came from'.

It was also heard that her husband had recently formed a friendship with another woman and that Theresa Soper had been worried about it. However, it was said that she had apparently been quite happy just before her death.

The woman that he had formed a relationship with had been 26-years-old and lived in Sandfield Road in St Albans and he previously worked at his shop.

When Theresa Soper's husband gave evidence at the inquest, he said, 'It is a fact that I have formed a friendship with another woman. This had caused my wife some anxiety'.

When he gave details about the day she died he said that when he got up at 6.30am he found a glass in the kitchen with some white powder in it. However, he said that Theresa Soper had been taking a mixture for some time and that he thought nothing of it and washed the glass out. He said that when he left at 8.30am that Theresa Soper was still asleep.

However, he said that when he returned two hours later he found her in a deep coma and phoned for a doctor.

He added that he then found a tube of tablets on the table. The tube was a tube for Enzolet cough tablets. Theresa Soper's husband said, 'I used to take empty tubes home for my daughter. She mixed paints in them'.

He noted that he had also found Theresa Soper in a deep sleep two months earlier and that she had told him that she had thought that it was the 'best way out'.

When Theresa Soper's husband mentioned the incident two months earlier the Coroner asked him, 'Because of this experience in March why weren't you suspicious when you found her in a deep sleep on May 10?', Theresa Soper's husband replied, 'Because of her attitude the previous night, she had been so happy'.

Theresa Soper's husband then said, 'I could have obtained the tablets and it would have been possible for my wife to have obtained them as she came to the shop at odd intervals'. However, he reiterated that he didn't get the drugs himself.

When the pathologist gave evidence he said that it seemed that Theresa Soper had been taking drugs over a long period.

When the Coroner returned the open verdict he stated that that gave the police the opportunity to make further inquiries at a future date if they thought necessary.

Theresa Soper had a 13-year-old daughter at the time.

After the inquest Theresa Soper's husband drove off with the 26-year-old woman that he had formed a friendship with and went to her parents’ home in St Albans. He said, 'I have an extended leave from my firm. My friend and I have no plans for marriage. The question has not arisen. We are good friends'. The 26-year-old woman had married six years earlier but was at the time living apart from her husband. She said that she had also left Boots.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Daily Mirror - Wednesday 30 August 1961

see Daily Herald - Wednesday 30 August 1961

see Birmingham Daily Post - Wednesday 30 August 1961