Left Clothes On Canal Bank – Woman’s Suicide

April 1957

South Yorkshire Times  April 14, 1957

Left Clothes On Canal Bank
Conisbrough Woman’s Suicide

At a Conisbrough inquest last Friday, the Doncaster district coroner, Mr WH Carlile, was told how Hilda Woodward (51), postwoman of 14 Ivanhoe Rd, Conisbrough, entered the canal near Mexborough Power Station and was drowned shortly after been discharged from Doncaster Royal infirmary, where she had been admitted saying she had taken sleeping tablets and wanted to die.

Her body was recovered from the River Don near Conisbrough viaduct 12 days after she vanished leaving a coat, scarf and a pair of fur-lined boots on the canal bank at Mexborough.

John Westwood, collier drill operator, of 20 Sheldon Avenue corridor, told the coroner that the deceased had good health until Christmas, since when she had suffered with her nerves. She had been treated by a doctor and had been given sleeping tablets and some other tablets for her nerves.

Witness said that he went to her house to see her on March19 after he had received a message saying that she was very ill. When he arrived he found her lying on the bed, seemingly semiconscious. She appeared to have taken drugs and was rambling.

Westwood told the Coroner that she said, “Leave me alone. I want to sleep. I want to die, I have taken my tablets.”

Witness added: “I then saw her father, who said she had taken a dose of tablets, and arrangements were to be made to take her by ambulance to Doncaster infirmary. She was discharged at midday the following day, and returned home with my wife.

“When we got home, I remained in the house, while my wife went for some more sleeping tablets. After half an hour, she (the deceased), said she was going to meet my wife. She would not let me accompany her.

“At about 620 I began to feel worried about her and went to the surgery. I saw my wife, and asked her if she had seen her. My wife told me she had not, and we reported her missing to the police.

Note left in House

At this point, the Coroner produced a note, stating that it had been found in the house by the deceased’s father. “It showed an obvious intention to do away with herself,” said the Coroner.

Alfred Needham, labourer, 226, Wath Rd, Mexborough said he was working near the power station in Mexborough on Thursday, March 21, when someone shouted to him saying that a coat and a pair of fur-lined black boots had been found in the canal bank about 2 feet from the water, and 200 yards from his shed. Witness said witness said he looked round on both sides of the canal, but found no one. He then reported the matter to the police.

PC George Armitage, of Conisbrough, said that while he was on duty at the police station April 2, he received a message saying that a body was in the river Don near Conisbrough viaduct. He went to the scene and so the body floating face downwards. He then arrange for it to be removed to the mortuary at Conisbrough.

Dr Henry Lederer, pathologist, said death was due to asphyxia resulting from drowning.

Recording a verdict of “Suicide while the balance of the mind was disturbed,” the Coroner said that it was clear from the evidence and the note what had happened.