Middlesex Murders brings together numerous murderous tales, some of which were little known outside the county, and others which made national headlines. Contained within the pages of this book are the stories behind some of the most heinous crimes ever committed in Middlesex. They include the murder of John Draper, whose body was found in a well at Enfield Chase in 1816; 15-year-old John Brill, found beaten to death in a wood in 1837 after giving evidence against two poachers; and Claire Paul, killed with an axe at her home in Ruislip in 1938.
Linda Stratmann’s carefully researched and enthralling text includes much previously
unpublished information and will appeal to everyone interested in the shady side of Middlesex’s history.
Murder on the Heath
The savage murder of John Cole Steele on Hounslow Heath in 1802 almost certainly resulted in a miscarriage of justice and the hanging of two innocent men. At their execution a surge in the crowed led to panic and tragedy.
The Beadle of Enfield
In 1816 John Draper went on a drinking binge which ended in robbery and death at an Enfield public house frequented by pugilists in training.
Murder in Mad Bess Wood
In 1837 a 15 year old boy was found savagely hacked to death in a wood near Ruislip. The crime remained unsolved until 1844 when an informant provided new evidence. But was it too late – and was he telling the truth?
In the Heat of the Moment
A single moment can change someone’s life forever. For Francis Hastings Medhurst, in Hayes 1839, an explosion of rage led to murder. For his tutor it meant a lifetime of ruin.
The Wine Shop Murder
In 1919 John Thomas Gregory, manager of a wine shop in Colindale Avenue, was found brutally beaten to death. His killer claimed that he had lashed out after Gregory had made sexual advances. An unexpected error in cross examination at his trial led to an extraordinary result.
Blaming a Woman
In 1920, the body of Evelyn Goslett was found in the River Brent. Her husband was revealed as serial adulterer and bigamist, and while he admitted the murder he tried to put the blame on his mistress.
The Rubbish Dump Murder
In 1931 a partly burnt body was found on a smouldering rubbish tip at Scratchwood Sidings. He was one of a group of itinerant navvies who lived in shacks in Old Clay Lane. His murderers were soon caught and confessed, though they claimed self-defence. Recently openend papers in the National Archives have revealed the reasons why they were not reprieved.
The Widow of Twickenham
In 1936 the body of a wealthy reclusive widow was found beaten and partly burnt at her home. Her only regular visitor was eccentric 68 year old Albert Hadfield who managed her finances. Suspicions’ soon focussed on Hadfield, and his trial led to a remarkable confrontation between the leading prosecution witness and the defence.
The Man with a Scar
In 1938, Sidney Paul went to his neighbours for help saying that a scarred man had murdered his pregnant wife. The Pauls were a loving couple, but enquiries revealed that they were heavily in debt, and the story of an intruder could not be substantiated. Tried for murder, his only hope was a conflict between the stories of two eyewitnesses a husband and wife, neighbours who had seen the event through a glass roof.
A Bit of a Fix
Lillian Bound had not seen her friend Phyllis or her child, who lived in the downstairs flat for some time. Phyllis’ husband Lionel said that they had gone away, then he asked to borrow a spade. Months later in the middle of a heatwave, Lillian investigated a nasty smell where Lionel had been digging, and had a terrible shock. Lionel, so he explained to the police, had been in ‘a bit of a fix’.
Published 1st June 2010 by The History Press Ltd.