As cold cases go they don’t get much more cold than this – permafrost level I’d say, but there are two further pieces of information that have surfaced over the years. The first was the release of documents by the Metropolitan Police in 2001, which revealed how far the Baker’s contacts were involved in the importation of narcotics.
The second is probably more speculative, as it is all hearsay, but it does appear to fit the rumours which were circulating at the time. In 1986 a resident of University of British Columbia Women’s Club told the author of the book, Ed Starkins, about a her friendship with an Irish nurse who had cared for a Jack Nichol. His father had been Governor General of British Columbia between 1920-1926, and he had hoped to give evidence at one of the many trials, that at the time of Janet Smith’s death he was on a train playing cards. His evidence was thought to be irrelevant and he was not called.
The nurse had said he had told her that he and a young woman called Lucille Parker attended a party on July 25th 1924 at the Baker home. He had got drunk and went to a second floor bathroom to stick his head under the shower in an attempt to sober up. Janet Smith appeared on the landing with a towel for him and at that moment Lucille emerged from one of the bedrooms and saw the two of them. She misinterpreted the scene and went beserk, punching and pushing at Nichols. In the course of this Janet slipped on the wet floor of the bathroom and hit her head on the bathroom spiggot.
Of course, if that was the truth, the offence was one of manslaughter, and the cover up could only to have hidden the party and possibly the use of drugs. Those attending may all have had their own reasons for keeping the events that night a secret.
What is certain is that she met and untimely death which has never been accounted for or explained. We like to think that no matter who the perpetrator or who the victim someone’s death should be fully investigated. Are we right in that belief?
The book I have referred to throughout these posts is called ‘Who Killed Janet Smith?’ by Ed Starkins and is published Anvil Press Publishers of Vancouver.