Elsie Payne (1911-1923)

On 7th December 1923 12-year-old Elsie from 15 Comet Street was given 6 pence by a neighbour to buy cakes from a local shop in Clifton Street owned by her uncle & auntie. She returned at 8:45PM to Auntie Florence Lovatt tending the fire. When Florence looked up she saw blood coming from a wound in Elsie's throat. Before collapsing Elsie said a man had asked her directions to Clifton Street. A witness later said they had seen a man running away down Clifton Street.

Elsie died that evening in the Royal Infirmary but the Coroner thought the wound may have resulted from a fall onto spiked railings or even broken glass. The evidence was further complicated by a note received by Elsie's parents from someone signing themselves "John Davey" confessing they had stabbed Elsie with a corkscrew - but the police dismissed this as the work of an insane crank.

The Jury returned an Open verdict. However the story didn't stop there. Several letters from Brixton, London were received criticising the doctors conclusions and raised questions about Elsie's death.