Frozen to Death – Denaby Child´s Terrible Fate – Found In An Ash-pit

December 1916

Mexborough & Swinton Times, December 23rd 1916.

Frozen To Death
Denaby Child´s Terrible Fate.
Found In An Ash-pit

Mr. Montagu Nicholson held an inquest in the Denaby Main Institute on Thursday, on Florence Evans, aged 11, daughter of Wm. Evans, of 5 Doncaster Road, Denaby Main. The child´s naked body was discovered in an ash-pit behind Quarry Hill, Denaby, on Wednesday morning, in remarkable circumstances, death apparently being due to exposure.

Annie Evans, mother of the deceased, said the child was in the habit of wandering about and had been repeatedly brought home by the police. She left home on Friday last, and the police searched the district, but it was not until Wednesday that she was found, and she then returned at 1-30 a.m. in the charge of a police constable. She did not say where she had been ; she never would say where she had been when she returned from her wanderings abroad.

A doctor had certified that she was suffering from kleptomania and diabetes and that she had nomadic instincts.

Witness bathed the child and put her to bed. Shortly after, about three in the morning she awoke and asked witness if she might go to the closet. She was in her nightdress and witness took her downstairs. Deceased pulled off the night -dress, which was soiled, and as witness was looking for another, she slipped through the door in a naked condition. Witness and her husband went immediately out to search for her, her husband, who is a cripple, travelling on his hands and knees. The outbuildings were examined and the search continued with the help of a neighbour until five o´clock.

Then what did you do – go back to bed ?

No, we haven´t been in bed for a week.

Witness added that her daughter was eventually found in an ash-pit attached to Quarry View, about fifty yards away from her home. The child had been brought home from all parts of the district, as far distant as Hoyland Common and Rotherham. Witness had employed children to watch her and keep her from going away, but she had fought and hit them. Witness had also locked up clothes belonging to deceased, and sealed the windows, and deceased had at times got out from the house in her chemise by sliding down the spout.

Martha Whitlam, wife of Robert Whitlam, Quarry View, Denaby Main, said at 12-30 p.m. on Wednesday she was throwing ashes into the ash-pit when she saw the body of deceased lying there, and drew the attention of Mr. John Soar to it. Mr. Soar fetched the police and recovered the body.

P.c. Herbert Grant, stationed at Denaby, said that he was summoned at one o´clock on Wednesday afternoon by Mr. John Soar, to an ash-pit in Quarry View, where he found the body of the deceased in the ash-pit. The body was quite frozen, and the child had evidently been dead several hours. He found no mark on the body save a scratch on the right leg.

Witness added that he had on many occasions found deceased wandering in the night, and had taken her home. He had seen the parents looking for her at all times.

A verdict of ” Death from Exposure ” was returned.

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