Conisborough Tragedy – “Murder” Verdict – Rebuke to Husband.

September 1925

Mexborough and Swinton Times, September 26, 1925

Conisborough Tragedy
“Murder” Verdict Against Edlington Youth
Coroners Rebuke to Murdered Woman’s Husband.

The resumed enquiry into the death of Violet Emily Turner (23), of 31, St John’s Road, New Edlington, whose body was found under the railway viaduct at Conisborough at midnight, August 24-25. was held at the Cooperative Reading room, Conisborough, on Monday.

Mr. Frank Allen, the coroner, was assisted by a jury. Inspector Dance represented the West Riding Constabulary, and Mr. W. L. Crawford, of Doncaster, represented the youth, George Temperton (17), colliery worker of 48, Wellington Road, New Edlington.

At the opening of the enquiry, said the coroner, Mrs James mother of the dead woman, had given evidence of identification and a few other particulars.

Six months ago the husband of their diseased left her and went to Manchester. It did not appear that there had been any serious disagreement between the two, who had been separated 2 or 3 times before: during last summer the woman went into service. She left her husband frequently right up to July 19. She went home on account of illness and met Temperton about May 1925, and she had of course, an opportunity of becoming intimately associated with the youth. Although the mother warned the lad that her daughter was a married woman, he expressed his regard for her and said it did not matter to him.

The coroner said there was no direct evidence as to what happened at the viaduct there were he said, no signs of a struggle, and no signs of an outrage.

Youths wounds.

Dr. G. M. King, of Conisborough, said on August 21 at 10:45 PM, he was called to the house of the gas works manager. Arriving 10 minutes later he saw George Temperton at the house. He was seated, and had his throat cut, the wound being 2 ½ inches long. Witness dressed the wound and as soon as it could be arranged Temperton was sent to the Doncaster infirmary. In consequence of what Temperton had said, witness went to Conisborough cliffs, near the viaduct, where the body of the woman identified as Mrs. Turner was found lying near one of the supports of the viaduct. She was dead and was lying on her back. The body was warm. There was a huge gash along the throat which had gone to the spinal column. They wound must have been made with a very sharp instrument.

Mr. Crawford: did you see any signs of a struggle? – None at all.

“Didn’t matter”

Mrs. Eleanor James, mother of diseased, said she was told in May that diseased was meeting Temperton. She stopped the youth and told him that her daughter was married and had children. He said. “I care for her, and it doesn’t matter whether she is married.” On August 22 diseased told witness that she was going to Manchester to ask her husband what he was going to do towards the maintenance of the baby. On the following Monday she came home with the baby at 9.15. And having handed the child to witness she made a slight change in her dress and went out again. She did not say where she was going. Witness did not see her daughter alive after that. On the following day the police showed witness her daughters watch.

Mr. Crawford: your daughter had been living with you at your house up to the Saturday night? – Yes. She came home from her situation suffering from anaemia.

Was there any reason why she should not have continued living with you after that Saturday night? – She needed not have left home. We were to move to another house. But it would have made no difference to her

You never told her she would have to find another home? – No, certainly not. She knew perfectly well she had no need to find another home.

“She is dead.”

Leonard Harvey, miner, 13, Garden Lane, Conisborough, said he was at Wingate Cottage, Conisborough, on August 24th , when, at 10:30 PM he heard a knocking on the door. He opened the door and saw Temperton who had his hands held up and was making a curious noise. Temperton got hold of witnesses hand and put it to his (Tempertons) throat, which was covered with blood. Witness went into the kitchen, where there was a light, and Temperton followed. Witness saw there was a wound in the throat. Temperton said I have done my woman in at the viaduct.” Witness put his fingers to the wound and tried to stop it bleeding. There was a woman in the house and she was frightened. So witness took Temperton to the house of Mr. Oswald’s, the gas manager, where there was a telephone. Witness phoned for the police and the doctor from there. Until the doctor arrived witness did his best to stop the bleeding. While he was thus attending to Temperton the youth said. “My razor is in my pocket. She is dead and will not move.” Dr. King arrived shortly afterwards, and when he had attended to Temperton witness went with the youth and P. C. Hibbitt to Doncaster infirmary.

Mr. Crawford: was Temperton very distressed or excited when you saw him? – No, sir. He was not.

Charles Oswald, Gasworks Manager, Gasworks House, Conisborough. Said he was at home when at about 10:35 PM Harvey brought Temperton. While Harvey, was attending to Temperton the latter told witness he had “done a woman in in the cliffs.” Witness asked Temperton if the woman was dead, thinking that she might require attention, and Temperton said “she is dead enough and will not move.” A police sergeant and a constable arrived and with witness set out to Conisborough cliffs. P. C. Lund followed them to the place to which Temperton had directed them. At about 12.15 on the morning of Tuesday the body of the woman was found by PC Lund. Lying under the bridge near the river Don. The body was taken to the Castle Inn.

Relatives Visit.

Nellie Temperton, New Edlington, wife of Joseph Henry Temperton. Miner, said her husband was George Templeton’s brother. On Monday, August 24th witness with other members of the family left home to go to Rossington where. At 111, Aberconway Crescent they saw George Temperton and the deceased. The object of the journey was to persuade Temperton to come home. They spent the afternoon reasoning with the two, and they all left there to go back to new Edlington at about 5 o’clock. Templeton hurried on on his bicycle, witness suggesting that he should meet the fire and prepare some tea. Witness and the rest of the party arrived home half an hour later, and found George Templeton sitting on the couchat 9 o’clock. He said, “good night,” and mentioned that he was going home to his mother. They did not see him again. The woman, Violet Turner, left at 9.15. Witness’s husband had a razor which she kept on a shelf in the kitchen. They did not know it was missing until the police called with it.

Came for rooms.

Harold Broxton, 111, Aberconway, Cresent, Rossington said that on August 22 Temperton came to his house with Violet Turner. They arrived at about 2 o’clock, and said they wanted to take some rooms for which they had ordered furniture. They had only a bed at that time as the other goods had not arrived. They told witness they had been married about 12 months and had one child. They appear to be comfortable and well settled together, they spent the Saturday night in the bedroom which she let to them and on the following day at 11:30 AM Temperton went away, leaving Mrs. Turner there. The youth returned on his bicycle at 3:45 PM on the same night he went away again, saying he was going to fetch his pit clothes but came back saying that the door of the house was locked and he could not get them. Temperton and Mrs. Turner went to bed at 10 o’clock, and as witness had to go to work he did not see them on the following morning at 1:30 PM when he got home, he found the relations of Temperton had turned up. George Temperton and Mrs. Turner were upstairs, and Templeton called witness upstairs. Temperton said “I am very sorry things have happened like this and I am going home.”

In answer to a jury man, witness, referring to the above incident, said he would not say there was a row but a family squabble. No blows were struck.

Mr. Crawford: do you know whether after the relations arrived, Temperton and the deceased woman stayed long in the bedroom upstairs away from the relatives? – No. I don’t

Husband’s Evidence.

Arthur Turner, greengrocer, 23, Rivendell Street, Pendleton, Manchester, husband of the dead woman, said he identified the body of the dead woman at the Castle Inn on August 26. It was that of his wife. They were married at the Registrars office. Doncaster, on January 28. 1924. They had a quarrel in November, 1924. When they were living in rooms, about a dance which his wife had attended. A day or two afterwards witness went to Manchester, stopped one night, and then went back to Edlington. He saw his wife and asked her to go back with him, but she said Mrs. Williams was ill and had asked her to look after the place until she got better. Witness found out afterwards that his wife had gone into service, and from November to July he never heard of her at all.

Did not “bother.”

The coroner: You did not bother much about her, did you? – No.

Why did you not make some enquiries? – Well, we had parted so many times before.

Continuing, witness said he met her at Pendleton on July 4, when she told him she was in service at Didsbury. Witness made arrangements to meet her on the following Wednesday, and up to July 19 met her three for time. He made arrangements for a further meeting. She did not keep the appointment. When he got home there was a letter stating she had been ill during the weekend, and her doctor had ordered her a fortnight’s rest. She also asked if he had got the rooms they had spoken about, for she was coming back to him in a fortnight’s time. Witness did not know his wife had been carrying on with another man. He made no payment to his wife, either for herself or the maintenance of her two children.

The coroner: Supposing it is true that she did pick up with this man Temperton. Do you think you are a great deal responsible for it, I do. – Well. When she asked me to have her back I told her “yes.”

The coroner: yes, but then you go away to a soft job with your father and leave her to provide for herself.

Favourite walk.

Hilda James, single, of 31, St. John’s Road, Edlington, sister of diseased, said she saw Temperton and her sister walking out together at night several times. They always walked in the direction of Conisborough, to the viaduct on the cliffs.

Mr. Crawford: they always seemed very happy together, I suppose – Oh. Yes, they were always the best of friends.

PC Lund told of his discovery of the body.

PC Hibbert said he was called to the house of the gasworks manager, said when he saw Temperton he put his hand in his jacket pocket, and touching a razor. Said “I have done it with this.” The youth was in a semiconscious condition. Witness went with Temperton to the Doncaster infirmary. They searched his clothing and found a silver wristwatch and a lady’s pocket handkerchief, with a letter which had no bearing on the case, the watch and handkerchief were identified as the property of the deceased.

In answer to a juryman, witness said he did not think Temperton had had any drink.

Probable defence.

The coroner, summing up said that after having two days together Temperton and diseased were taken away by relatives, and apparently did not like it. Later in the evening Temperton and the woman went off again, and what happened between 9-15 and 10-15 p.m., there was no evidence to show: it might be paraded that Templeton did what he did in a moment of insanity, that was a matter which would be dealt with by another court, not by the jury at the inquest. He sincerely hope that the deceased would be able to establish the plea.

“We can only conclude,’ said Mr. Allen. “That this unfortunate couple conceived a violent liking for each other. And when they were mistreated in their attempt to set up house together they went off in a fit of temper to that remote place. It occurs to me that these parties had agreed together to take their own lives and end the troubles in death.”

It did not necessarily follow that because of their verdict Temperton would be hung. And they must not let that influence their verdict. It was a terrible thing. He thought that a husband who would give way simply because of a tiff with his wife and left without taking any steps to ascertain whether she was starving, was not doing his duty to the woman. If the husband had paid more attention to his wife she might not have developed such associations.

After a short retirement, the jury returned a verdict of “wilful murder” against George Temperton.