Information from Michael Thornton regarding Jean Kent Inquest

8th May 2014

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An inquest into the death of movie legend Jean Kent, one of Britain’s top box-office stars in the 1940s and 1950s, will take place at 10 a.m. on Thursday of this week, May 8, at the Active Business Centre, St. Andrews Castle, 33 St. Andrews Street South, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, IP33 3PH, with the Senior Coroner for Suffolk, Dr. Peter Dean, presiding.

The hearing will be in Miss Kent’s married name, Joan Mildred Hurst.

No witnesses are being called, but the evidence will reveal that Miss Kent, a wealthy 92-year-old widow, was found naked on the floor of her bedroom at her secluded home, Thornglade, in the village of Westhorpe, near Stowmarket, on November 28 by her housekeeper, Mrs. Rita Betts, with a television, a television stand, and a disabled heavy chair across the left-hand side of her upper body. She had suffered serious injury to her chest and three ribs had been fractured.

Miss Kent was taken by ambulance to West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St. Edmunds, where she died in the early hours of November 30.

The star’s Executor, national newspaper journalist and former national film and theatre critic Michael Thornton, who was named by Miss Kent as Next of Kin, said today: “The Coroner has now passed to me all the relevant findings and documents in the case.

“I do not think it would be proper for me to pre-empt what Dr. Peter Dean is going to say at the inquest, but I can certainly confirm that his findings will refute the wilder stories that were in circulation at the time of Jean’s death, to the effect that intruders might have broken into her house and attacked her. One report even used the word, “murdered”. As the police have established, that certainly did not happen. At the time that her housekeeper found her, the front-door of the house was still locked, and the alarm system was in operation”.

One week after Thursday’s inquest, the British Film Institute is honouring Jean Kent at the National Film Theatre on May 15, when Michael Thornton will introduce the star’s most celebrated and also most notorious film, Good-Time Girl, which was refused a certificate by the British Board of Film Censors until a violent scene in which the star was raped was cut, and other changes were made. Even then, the film was still banned by the watch committees in several major UK cities, including Birmingham.

The film also starred Dennis Price, Diana Dors, Dame Flora Robson and Jill Balcon, the mother of Daniel Day-Lewis.