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|Flowers in Gods Garden
|??/??/?? - CHAPTER 2 - ROSE
(ROSIE) FRANCES PALMER
THE REPORT OF THE INQUIRY INTO THE CARE AND TREATMENT
SHAUN ANTHONY ARMSTRONG
ROSE (ROSIE) FRANCES PALMER
Rosie's mother Beverley Frances Wendy Anne Palmer was
born in Hartlepool in 1957. She married at nineteen but
the marriage only lasted four years before ending in divorce.
At twenty-two she commenced nurse training and on successful
completion she moved to the Bristol area.
Here she met Martin Palmer and they married in 1989. Rosie
was born on the 1st August 1990. In September 1990 Mrs
Palmer was admitted to Barrow Psychiatric Unit in Bristol
apparently suffering from post-natal depression. Shortly
afterwards Mrs Palmer discharged herself against medical
advice and returned to live in Hartlepool, taking Rosie
Approximately eighteen months later she met John Thornton
and they began to live together at a number of addresses
and finally at 12 Henrietta Street Hartlepool with effect
from September 1992. On 18th December 1993 their daughter
Emmie Thornton was born.
Although Mr and Mrs Palmer did not live together again
after Mrs Palmer's return to the North East in or about
October 1990, Mr Palmer was determined to maintain contact
with Rosie and continued, on a regular basis, to drive
up to visit every few weeks. The last contact was just
a month before Rosie's tragic death.
Evidence was given to the effect that Rosie had distinctive
ginger hair and wore glasses. She had an engaging grin
and was always full of life; she adored her little sister
and enjoyed horse riding and swimming; she was described
by the staff at the Salvation Army Hostel Nursery, where
she had a one hundred percent attendance record as being
a sensible mature little girl who did not wander, and
a happy child with a sense of humour.
Number 12 Henrietta Street was situated on the Headland
in Hartlepool just fifty yards away from the upstairs
flat at 51 Frederick Street where Armstrong had lived
since August 1993. The Headland was considered to be a
very close-knit community where it was safe for children
to play out in the streets.
Rosie had a number of friends in the area including the
great granddaughter of the lady who lived below Armstrong
and it was not uncommon for Rosie to play in the common
yard at the rear of those premises.
An ice cream van would visit the area almost on a daily
basis and about three times a week Rosie would ask her
mother for money so that she could purchase a lollipop,
when the van stopped about forty yards from her home and
to the rear of Armstrong's home.
On the 30th June 1994 Rosie's stepfather John Thornton
had collected her from the Nursery School and was looking
after her until Mrs Palmer returned.
Rosie asked for, and received from her stepfather, enough
money to buy a lollipop and ran out of her house to the
ice cream van. Apparently she asked not for a lollipop
but an ice cream and, although she did not have sufficient
money, the ice cream man gave her the ice cream as she
was a regular and popular customer.
When Rosie had not returned by 5.30pm her stepfather woke
her mother who had by this time returned home and fallen
asleep on the couch and a search was instigated locally.
When no trace of Rosie was found the Police were informed
at about 8.45pm.
Rosie was never seen alive again. Although her body was
not in fact found by the Police until 3rd July 1994 it
is now clear that Armstrong had committed the murder no
later than 4.30pm on the 30th June 1994.
From all the Reports which we read and the evidence that
we heard it is apparent that Rosie was an endearing cheerful
little girl who brightened the lives of everyone with
whom she came into contact. It is an absolute tragedy
that such a young life should be taken, and in such a
heinous manner, and we express our condolences and sympathy
to the family of Rosie Palmer for the suffering which
they must have endured.