Sunday, 4 January 2015

Mothers Dread Leads Her to Kill Baby

A mother who was convinced her baby son had inherited a health condition killed him and herself shortly before Christmas 1937.

William Lloyd James, his wife Marjorie and five month old son David only arrived in Liverpool in November of that year, when Mr James accepted a masters position at Quarry Bank School.

On the evening of Tuesday 14th December Mr James returned to their Chalfont Road home to find 31 year old Marjorie lying on the kitchen floor, with David beside her. Both were dead and appeared to have been gassed by the oven.

The inquest took place two days later, with Mr James telling the Coroner how his wife feared that David had inherited rheumatism from her. He told how on the night before the deaths, she had told him she could not bear the thought of David suffering the same pain she had done. Despite a doctor having assured Marjorie that David's recent discomfort was no more than stomach trouble, she remained convinced that an act on her part had led to him inheriting the condition.

The jury returned a verdict of 'suicide' on Marjorie's death and one of 'murder' for David, but the Coroner recorded that the balance of Marjorie's mind was disturbed at the time.

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