Violet Sidney had enjoyed a particularly close and loving relationship with Vera and her daughter’s death devastated her.
‘Oh, how I miss my darling Vera,’ she is quoted as saying, ‘how heartbroken I feel without her. All joy is gone out of life for me.’
Both Tom and Grace feared their mother would give up the will to live during the days after Vera’s death.
Dr Elwell continued to visit Violet at 29 Birdhurst Rise and prescribed a tonic called Metatone. He made a routine call on the 5th March, just after Grace had visited and was pleased to note that Violet was making progress and that her pulse rate was stronger. Violet had lunch when the doctor left but was taken ill during pudding. When the housekeeper came to clear the table, Mrs Sidney complained of feeling sick. It was at this moment that Grace called in again and recalled later, that her mother ‘looked deathly white, just as if she were dead.’ Violet announced that she had been poisoned. The housekeeper stated that it was probably the tonic that the doctor had given her, whereupon Grace examined the bottle and called Dr Elwell. He was busy and so his partner, Dr Binning came instead. Just before he arrived, Violet was sick and had an attack of diarrhoea in her chair. As Grace put her mother to bed, Violet stated again, to the doctor this time, that she had been poisoned. Dr Binning examined the medicine bottle which had been standing on the sideboard and noted that it contained a ‘grainy sediment.’
When Tom arrived for his daily visit that afternoon, Violet again claimed that she had been poisoned. Dr Elwell called in later that afternoon as Mrs Sidney rallied and said he didn’t believe the medicine was to blame for Mrs Sidney’s severe symptoms but that she had suffered from food poisoning. At 4pm that afternoon Violet Sidney suffered a complete relapse. Dr Elwell called for a nurse and specialist, Dr Frederic Poynton, who stated that Violet was suffering from acute food poisoning but failed to make a specific diagnosis. Unable to correctly identify the cause or alleviate Violet’s suffering, she died at 7.30 pm while Tom, Grace and the two doctors stood at her bedside.
This time a death certificate was not issued. Both doctors were mystified as to the cause of death.