Doctors agreed that 14-year-old Violet Mansfield had died while losing her virginity. But was she raped and murdered, or was the sex consensual and her death accidental?
A milkman found her body in the grounds of Highlands, a large house near Farnham, Surrey, at 6 a.m. on Sunday, OCTOBER 30th, 1921. She lay in a shrubbery near the gatehouse, her underwear was found nearby and her disarranged clothing indicated rape.
Her home was a cottage only 250 yards away, and she had set out alone at 6 p.m. the previous day to spend the evening in Farnham. Her parents were not unduly worried that she hadnt returned when they went to bed. She was often out late on Saturdays, they said, and she was mature for her age.
The doctor who performed the post-mortem examination determined that Violet had died in the early hours of Sunday. He found semen in her vagina, and said that until having sex on this occasion she had been a virgin. He also said there was no evidence of rape.
At the inquest two doctors said they that thought Violet might have died during rough but consensual intercourse, and that she might have been accidentally suffocated, perhaps to muffle the noise she was making. One of the physicians added that it was also possible that Violet had suffered an epileptic seizure while having sex.
The police, however, believed that she might have been suffocated because she threatened to tell on the person having sex with her, as she was under 16.
The coroners jury returned a verdict which said simply that Violet had been suffocated, but the police recorded her death as an unsolved murder.