09 May 2018

Bella in the Wych Elm - Jill Mossop

Birth Registration Index entry for Jill K. Mossop (from FamilySearch.org website)
Birth Registration Index entry for Jill K. Mossop
(from FamilySearch.org website)
In her 1953 statement to police about the Bella in the Wych Elm murder, Una Abel Mossop stated that: "The only child of our marriage was born in 1932 and he was christened Julian and at the present time, he is somewhere in America." Seemingly an open and shut statement except... when it comes to the Mossops, nothing is open and shut.

A few months ago, Duncan Honeybourne (a Mossop descendant) and I both noticed an intriguing entry on the Ancestry genealogy website. The birth of a Jill K. Mossop was registered in the first quarter of 1942 in Warwick... and the mother's maiden name was Abel.

Was this little girl really a child of Jack and Una? Could she have been conceived while Jack and Una were still together? Would Una have left Jack in December 1941 in the last few months of her pregnancy? So many unanswered questions.

Birth Registration for Jill K. Mossp (GRO)
Birth Registration for Jill K. Mossp (GRO)
A few weeks ago, I bit the bullet and ordered the birth registration.

Jill Kyra Mossop was born on 19 November 1941 at 124 Warwick Road in Kenilworth. The last two letters are hard to decipher and show up in column 6 as well.

Jill's parents were indeed Jack Mossop and Una Ella Abel. And the date of birth does indicate that Jill was born before Una left Jack Mossop for good in December 1941.

Birth Registration for Jill K. Mossp (GRO)
Birth Registration for Jill K. Mossp (GRO)
The second part of the registration notes that Jack Mossop was an aircraft engineer, living at 39 Barrow Road, Kenilworth. The same two initials show up after Kenilworth, as in column 1.

Column 7 should be the signature of the informant, which in this case would be J. Mossop, father, living at 39 Barrow Road, Kenilworth. The handwriting for this column, however, looks identical to the rest of the entry, which would seem to indicate that either Jack completed the entire entry, or that he did not sign the document and his information was simply filled in by the registrar. The birth was registered 2 January 1942, a good 6 weeks after Jill's birth, which makes sense if Jack and Una were in the process of breaking up. The other question would be... was the child actually Jack's? Or had Una and her soon-to-be second husband, James Alfred Hainsworth, engaged in an extra marital tryst?

What became of Jill Kyra Mossop? Why, in 1953, did Una not acknowledge the presence of another child? In later records for Una and her second husband, there is no mention of a Jill Mossop. Una and James had five children, one of whom died as a young child, and nowhere is Jill mentioned:
  1. Andre J.F.S. Hainsworth - born 9 December 1943 in Warwickshire
  2. Eugene H.S. Hainsworth - born 23 January 1945 in Warwickshire
  3. Heather H.R.S. Hainsworth - born 15 November 1946 in Warwickshire
  4. Annette Hainsworth - birth and death registered March 1949 in Warwickshire
  5. Terese Hainsworth - born 15 November 1956 in Ledbury, Shropshire
Death Registration Index for Jill M. Hainsworth (from Ancestry.co.uk website)
Death Registration Index for Jill M. Hainsworth
(from Ancestry.co.uk website)
There is one small clue, and it is a bit of a stretch. In 1942, there is a first quarter death registration for Jill M. Hainsworth.

This Jill was born around 1942 and died in Warwick at the age of 0 years (any age less than 12 months was registered as 0 years). Could Jill, infant daughter of Jack Mossop and Una Abel have been born in 19 November 1941 but her birth was perhaps not registered due to the turmoil in the Mossop household as Una sought to leave Jack for good? Could this young child then have passed away in the early months of 1942, thereby necessitating the registration of her birth? Or, perhaps she became ill and needed a birth registration in order to access medical care? And, given that the young child was now living with Una and her new husband Jack Hainsworth, perhaps her death was registered as Hainsworth? The middle initial in her name is a bit of an issue but looking at her birth registration, it is easy to see how a "Kyra" could be misread in haste as "Myra". It is interesting that there is no birth of a corresponding Jill M. Hainsworth sooo... it could be that Jill K. Mossop and Jill M. Hainsworth are the same infant.

It is, of course, entirely possible that infant Jill K. Mossop was farmed out to Una or Jack's parents. All of this is, of course, speculation, and until someone orders Jill M Hainsworth's death registration, such it will remain.

Sources
Ancestry genealogy website - births, marriages, deaths, passenger manifests, etc.
FamilySearch genealogy website - same as above
FindMyPast genealogy website - same as above
GRO - birth registration for Jill K. Mossop
West Mercia Police files on Bella in the Wych Elm

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