Unsolved London Murders: The 1920s & 1930s (True Crime from Wharncliffe)
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Unsolved crimes have a special fascination, none more so than unsolved murders. The shock of the crime itself and the mystery surrounding it, the fear generated by the awareness a killer on the loose, the insight the cases give into outdated police methods, and the chance to speculate about the identity of the killer after so many years have passed - all these aspects of unsolved murder cases make them compelling reading.
In this companion volume to his best-selling Unsolved Murders of Victorian and Edwardian London, Jonathan Oates has selected over 20 haunting, sometimes shocking cases from the period between the two world wars. Included are the shooting of PC James Kelly in Gunnersbury, violent deaths associated with Fenian Conspiracies, the stabbing of the French acrobat Martial Lechevalier in Piccadilly, the strychnine poisoning of egg-seller Kusel Behr, the killing by arsenic of three members of a Croydon family, and, perhaps most gruesome of all, the case of the unidentified body parts found at Waterloo Station.
Jonathan Oates describes each of these crimes in precise, forensic detail. His case studies shed light on the lives of the victims and summon up the ruthless, sometimes lethal character of London itself.
Burglars seem a more likely explanation, but as to who they were, it is impossible to know. However, the neighbours heard nothing suspicious, so even the existence of the burglars must remain questionable. CHAPTER 7 An Acrobat’s Death, 1924 he was inclined to quarrel and fight when intoxicated In a tourist guide to London of 1927, it was stated that, ‘Leicester Square and Soho have long been famous as the home of a colony of French, Italians and Swiss. Hereabouts are many excellent
lodgings to go to the cinema. He returned at 7.30 pm, having been elsewhere, as he was clearly the worse for wear and was very excited. She ‘asked him not to go out any more as I knew that he was inclined to quarrel and fight when he was intoxicated’. But he refused to heed her and left their rooms shortly afterwards, at about 7.45 pm. Auguste Guilleaume Pascall, a Frenchman who had lived in England for 24 years, who described himself as a hotel keeper of the New North Road, Theobald’s Road, was
(1936) was one, as was Robert Venner in New Cross in 1934. And we have another. Edward Austin Creed managed a provision shop in Leinster Terrace, just off the Bayswater Road. Born in Brentwood, Essex, in 1881, he was employed by Messrs Philip Lowry and Co., cheesemongers and poulterers, and had been for over 20 years. It seems he was reasonably prudent, with £267 to his name in 1926. Creed was a busy man because he was also a special constable in Paddington. He had been a married man since 1908
mental state. According to him she had been in fair health – she had had a little heart trouble a couple of years before, but had made a full recovery. At that time, she had spent six weeks in bed following medical advice in order to prevent any kind of breakdown. The couple had then had a three-week holiday. His wife was not depressed, nor was she of a nervous temperament. She had no money troubles or other worries. Mr East told them, ‘We have lived very happily together, and she has always been
bloodstained clothes. Second-hand clothing shops were told to keep a look out for such. Some women came forward with what little they knew and were assured police protection as the number of officers in the district was increased. It was found that many such women lived in danger of threats of violence. As Sharpe noted, ‘Soho was turned upside down’. Yet he was pessimistic about the outcome, writing, ‘with so little to go on we were pretty well doomed to failure from the word “go”’. It seems