The Execution of Lorraine Lax - Armley January 1926

The Inquest

"Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood" - Marie Curie

The inquest into the death of Lizzie Lax was opened on Wednesday 2nd September 1925 by Sheffield's Deputy Coroner. A report appeared in the following day's local paper. I should add that the Inquest is a judicial investigation headed by a Coroner which attempts to ascertain the cause of a death that was sudden, violent, suspicious, or occurred in prison. It's terms of reference are narrow - if a verdict of murder is reached, then in most cases the Inquest is succeeded by the initiation of criminal proceedings    

Another report of the Inquest appeared in the Sheffield Daily Telegraph dated 3rd September 1925

The proceedings were adjourned until Tuesday 8th September as Lorraine was still in hospital as a result of the wounds he incurred on the morning of the murder. The proceedings were resumed on that day during which time Lorraine had been discharged from the hospital.


And it was at this inquest that the notion was first brought out that Lorraine was a drunk and a gambler. And the person who aired those views was Lizzie's sister and  Lorraine's sister in law Mrs Alice Gardner.

"Her sister had frequently complained that her husband did not provide her with sufficient money to carry on. He earned enough money, but spent it on drinking and gambling"

But his father-in-law George Bedford stated that

"he had only see him drunk once since he came back this time, but added that he had not seen him often at all"

Reading these newspaper reports the impression that a reader receives is that Lorraine and his in-laws were not on the best of terms, even though they lived in fairly close proximity.
But there can be no doubt that Lorraine inflicted the fatal blows on his wife. The police surgeon was quite insistent that the wounds could not have been self inflicted and as Lorraine was the only adult present, he must have killed his wife. In the light of the evidence put before them, the Coroner's Jury were quite correct to return a verdict of  "wilful murder" and so the following day, Lorraine appeared before Sheffield police-court where he was committed for trial at the next assizes. He did not make any statement at the hearing and reserved his defence, 

The Trial of Lorraine Lax 

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