Mystery of body found drowned at Bishop's Stortford

Hertfordshire Mercury, 13th and 20th January 1900


Charles Pateman, a lock keeper at South Mill Lock, Bishop’s Stortford found the body of a woman floating in the river near Black Bridge at 09:15am on Wednesday 10 January 1900.  He managed to recover the body and informed the police.  Supt. Foster and Mr Pateman attempted artificial respiration but were unsuccessful and the body was taken to the Workhouse Mortuary.  Dr Agnew was called and he advised that death had occurred some hours previously.

Supt. Foster noted that the woman was well dressed and wore gold jewellery.  Following a search of the river, a fur muff and silver mounted umbrella with a horn handle was found on the woodwork of Black Bridge.  The muff contained a purse with two half sovereigns, 9/- in silver and a halfpenny.  A railway ticket from Liverpool Street to Rayne was also found dated for the previous day and a postcard addressed to Miss Green, Connaught House, Bennett Park, Blackheath, advising that the sender had arrived safely on January 9th.   Subsequently a dressing case and cape were found at an eating house in South Street which had been left there.  Whilst at the eating house she had asked the way to the river.

There was no evidence of violence.  Several people saw a lady walking along the tow path between South Mill Bridge and Black Bridge between 5:15 and 11:15 the previous day.  P.C. Hill had seen her at the railway station at 1:30am on Wednesday.  Miss Green had said that she had missed the branch train and intended to return to London on the first train of the day.

After making inquiries, Supt Green discovered that the body was that of Miss Emily Green, aged 51, who had resided at the address given on the postcard.  She had been a dressmaker, in partnership with a Miss Manley for thirteen years.  Miss Manley identified the body and said that Miss Green had been despondent, with worries about the business and had been sent to the country by her friends for a rest.  She had last seen Miss Green on January 9th, when she saw her off at Liverpool Street.  It had been Miss Green’s intention to travel to Rayne and then stay with her cousin, a Mrs Metson of Betts Farm, Little Saling.  Miss Manley had received a letter on 10 January saying Miss Green had not arrived and travelled to Bishop’s Stortford to make inquiries.

The inquest was held on Friday, 12 January.  The jury returned an open verdict of “found drowned”

This page was added on 26/02/2014.

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