William Steer

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Witness at Frances Coles' inquest.

Born c.1870 in Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex[1]. Head barman at The Bell public house, 50 Middlesex Street in 1891.

On the afternoon of 12th February 1891, Frances Coles and James Sadler (described as 'a man dressed as a sailor') entered the pub where they drank for an hour. Sadler apparently spoke to Steer about knowing Shadwell before the couple left at 5.30pm.

The timing of their visit was questioned by the coroner who felt it showed a discrepancy with evidence given by Annie Shuttleworth. As Steer had yet to officially identify James Sadler or the body of Frances Coles, he was sent to the mortuary.

He later returned and confirmed that the body in the mortuary was that of the woman who had come into the pub with the 'sailor man'.[2]


  1. Census reports 1891
  2. Inquest report, The Times, 21st February 1891