WARNING - Article contains graphic content that some may find distressing

Alice Welstead Suicide

Barking East Ham & Ilford Advertiser 4th May 1912

 

SUICIDE THROUGH FEAR OF CANCER.

BRAINTREE HOUSEKEEPER'S SAD MISTAKE.

On Thursday Mr. Coroner Harrison held an inquest at Braintree Police Court touching the death of Alice Welstead, aged 53, housekeeper to Mr. Edwin Blomfield of London Road, Braintree, who was found in her bedroom on Wednesday with her throat cut.

Alfred G. Welstead, a brush-maker, deceased's brother, said she had been with Mr. Blomfield about two years. She was troubled with an affection of the face, which she thought might be cancer, as a sister died of that complaint. She was of a cheerful disposition, and had no other trouble that he knew of. She was about leave her situation to take a rest.

Edwin Blomfield said deceased had been in his service about two years. He last saw her alive about 1.30 p.m. Wednesday, when she cleared away the dinner. He heard her about the house as late as 3 p.m. About 4.20 he called her to get the tea ready, and not seeing or hearing her he tried her door and found it was locked from the inside. He then went to a neighbor, Mrs. Maurice. They thought deceased might be in a faint, and they therefore unscrewed the lock and opened the door. Deceased was lying on the bed with her feet on the floor, and a pool of blood about her. On Monday week deceased gave him notice to leave. He asked her if anything was wrong, and she replied "No." Beyond her face trouble he knew of no cause to make her uncomfortable, but she had been somewhat strange recently. He identified the two knives produced as his property, but not the
razor.

By the foreman: I don't remember her speaking at all at dinner time.

P.c. Moore said he saw deceased as described by the last witness, there was blood on the bed, floor, chest of drawers, and looking-glass. He found a razor, carving knife, and table knife besmeared with blood, the two latter lying near the glass. The razor was on the floor between the bed and the chest of drawers.

Dr. Arnold Scott said there was a deep incision across the neck which divided the wind-pipe. The right carotid artery was divided. Deceased had, apparently, made an attempt with the large knives, and a second attempt with the razor. There was no evidence of cancer, but a small pimple with some hairs upon it. He had seen deceased before, but had never attended her. The fear of cancer would likely to cause her to be distressed in her mind, especially as her sister had suffered very much from that complaint.