Drowned At Blackpool – Woman’s Fate – Last Seen On Christmas Eve: Open Verdict

February 1947

South Yorkshire Times, February 1, 1947

Drowned At Blackpool
Conisbrough Woman’s Fate
Last Seen On Christmas Eve: Open Verdict

An open verdict was recorded at a Preston inquest on Thursday on Mrs Christina Willoughby (56) Lindale Gardens, Blackpool, whose body was found on the foreshore at Fleetwood on Friday, January 17. The inquest was opened on Monday of last week, but adjourned for further medical evidence.

Mrs Willoughby, a native of Conisbrough was a member of a well-known Conisbrough family. Her parents were the licence holders at one time of the beer off-licence premises near the Castle Inn, and it was there that Mrs Willoughby was born. After her marriage she lived at Batley, but had resided at Blackpool for several years. Mourners at the funeral on Friday included Mr and Mrs A. J. Tomlinson (Conisbrough) Mr and Mrs C. Tomlinson (Conisbrough), Mr H. Tomlinson (Bramley)). And Mr grassam (Wheatley. Doncaster).

No marks of violence

At Thursday’s inquest Dr R. FT. Cook, pathologist, Preston Royal infirmary, said that a post-mortem examination showed no marks of violence on the body other than would normally be caused by the effects of the sea.

Replying to the coroner (Mr W. Blackhurst), who pointed out that the police found certain underclothing missing, doctor. Cook said there was no sign of interference, and the loss of underclothing would be accounted for by the effect of the sea and the material.

Herbert Willoughby, hotel cellarman Richmond Road, Blackpool, said he had not seen his wife since three weeks before Christmas. She had never discussed suicide.

The coroner said the inquest was adjourned because the doctor who had examined the body was unable to give the cause of death, and said he would like expert assistance. It was thought such assistance could be got from the forensic lavatory, but he later came to the conclusion that the best thing would be to have an examination by an expert pathologist.

No Sign of Foul Play.

This dispensed with any suggestion of foul play in the case. There was no sign of violence or interference, and the cause of death was due to nothing other than drowning.

The circumstances were that Mrs Willoughby left home on Christmas Eve when she told her daughter she was going to help her sister to prepare for a dinner party. There was a history of unhappiness in that she was separated from her husband, but there was no suggestion of threats to commit suicide or of suicidal tendencies.

The history of unhappiness was not sufficient to conclude that she committed suicide and there was nothing to say how she came to drown. He found, therefore that death was due to drowning with no evidence of how she came to be in the water.