Conisborough Tragedy – Murder Verdict Against Dead Mother

16 September 1937

Leeds Mercury – Thursday 16 September 1937

Murder Verdict Against Dead Mother
Coroner’s Comments on Conisboro’ Husband

A murder verdict against Sylvia Gertrude Rantzen (39), of Northcliff Road, Conlsborough, a former school teacher who travelled extensively for her health, was returned at a Conisborough inquest to-day on her only child, Sylvia Kantzen, aged two years eleven months, who was found fatally gassed with her mother at home.

Mrs. Rantzen died five days after the discovery without regaining consciousness and a verdict was returned at the same inquest that she committed suicide whilst of unsound mind.

The Doncaster District Coroner (Mr. W. H. Carlisle) made severe comments on the father, Woolf Barnato Rantzen, commercial traveller, for his alleged behaviour after the discovery of the tragedy.

The Coroner said that unfortunately Mr. Rantzen did not disclose all the information to the police when they were first called and there was also a note which he destroyed. He committed a serious act in hiding necessary Information from the police, who were caused a lot of extra trouble.

At first he refused to make statement and then made a statement which was not complete. In all, he made three statements and it was not until the third time that the statement was complete.

Summing up, the Coroner said, “If Mrs. Rantzen had lived she might have been charged with murder and Rantzen might have rendered himself open to being charged as an accessory after the fact.” Rantzen, he added, however, must have been labouring under great stress.

In evidence, Rantzen said that he did not know what he was doing when he destroyed the note —his wife was ill. Rantzen mentioned that latterly their married life had not been happy, but both he and his wife idolised the child. Evidence was given that Mrs. Rantzen, who suffered a nervous breakdown some years ago, had been melancholy.