HC Deb 14 May 1931 vol 252 cc1372-3

asked the Attorney-General if he has considered the request he has received from Mrs. Ford, the mother of Gwendoline Molly Phillips, who disappeared in Somersetshire in September last, to make an application to the High Court to order the holding of another inquest; and, if so, what action he proposes to take?

The ATTORNEY - GENERAL (Sir William Jowitt)

On the 17th of last month an application was made to me to apply to the High Court for an order directing a fresh inquest in this case. The application was said to be made on behalf of the mother of the deceased girl and with her full knowledge and consent. I have since ascertained that the applicant is a Press reporter and had no authority to make the application. This statement is borne out by the following letter which I have received from Mrs. Ford, the mother of the deceased girl: I saw in one of the papers a few weeks ago that they were talking of a fresh inquest respecting my dear daughter Gwendoline Molly Phillips. I have not given my consent for an application to be made for a fresh inquest. I do not wish for the case to be reopened. I am quite satisfied with what have been done. Any letter that you have received asking for a fresh inquest have been written without my consent or at my request. The newspaper reporters have worried us a great deal and we have had to threaten them to keep them away. They have offered me money to give them particulars of my life. I do not see that anything else can be done in the matter, and certainly I do not wish for the case to be reopened. I cannot stand it. I may add that the eminent pathologist who has investigated the matter has reported that all the facts are consistent with accidental death, and that there is no fact which points to either suicide or murder. In these circumstances, I do not intend to take further action in the matter.


Are there any steps which the hon. and learned Member can take to protect the public at large, and individuals in particular, against such gross indecency?


I wish there were some such steps. I cordially re-echo the right hon. Gentleman's remark as to indecency.