Unsolved Murders

Ivy Griffiths

Age: 33

Sex: female

Date: 28 Jun 1946

Place: 34 Arnold Grove, Bradwell Estate, Porthill, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire

Source: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Ivy Griffiths was murdered about 15 minutes after she got out of a taxi near her home in Arnold Grove, Porthill on 27 June 1946.

Her body was found the following morning, Friday 28 June 1946 at about 5am on wasteland between Arnold Grove and Bradwell Lane by a lorry driver's mate who had been on his way to work.

It was thought that she had been first partially strangled and rendered unconscious before she was then kicked to death and assaulted with a sharp instrument. The police said that there appeared to have been a struggle and a pathologist said that her face had been pulped by gross violence. The police later said that they thought that her murderer, who had killed her in a frenzy, had lingered for a time near her body.

The time of her death was given as being about 11.15pm. She had earlier had left home at 7pm and it was thought that she had seen her husband for the first time in three weeks and then later seen a man in Hanley and then later shared a taxi-cab home with a soldier and a girl, getting out near her home at about 11pm. A woman later said that that she saw a thin man running away from the scene at about 11.30pm.

When she was found she was fully clothed, and her brooch was found on a footpath five or six yards from her body. It was also reported that a gold medal that she had worn was also found near her body, and the police said that they were searching for the chain on which she wore it round her neck. The contents of her handbag were intact.

She had been living at home with her mother at the time.

On the night that she was murdered she had seen her husband for the first time in three weeks. He came forward to say that he had seen her, but that they had parted after talking together for about an hour.

A short while later man came forward to say that he had spent some time with Ivy Griffiths in Hanley and had then taken her part of the way home in a taxi-cab.

Two weeks after that a young soldier and a girl came forward to say that they had also shared a taxi-cab with Ivy Griffiths and that she had got out near her home at 11pm.

About a week after that, a woman came forward to say that she had seen a tall, slim, athletic man running away from the spot at about 11.30pm.

The police later cut the grass on the spare ground between Arnold Grove and Bradwell Lane in a bid to find a murder weapon or other clues, but nothing was found.

Ivy Griffiths's mother said, 'When she did not arrive home last night, I was very worried. Although I went to bed, I could not sleep, and I got up several times and went to the garden gate. If I had known she was so near I would have gone to her'.

The police said that the interviewed more than 1,500 people on the Bradwell estate where she lived in an effort to obtain clues as to who her assailant was.

The police attended her funeral on Thursday 4 July 1946 at Burslem in Staffordshire in the hope that her murderer might be present and give himself away by his behaviour.

Her inquest, which was held on 3 October 1946, returned a verdict of 'Murder against some person or persons unknown'.

The police said that they were looking for a young man, thought to be aged about 20 who they thought might be able to help them find Ivy Griffiths's murderer.

On 12 July 1946, the police also said that they were trying to trace a slim built man of about 30 who they also thought could help with their enquiries, although its unclear if this isn't just a reference to the previous 20-year-old man they said they were looking for or if it is a different sighting.

The police later built up a detailed description of the type and character of the murderer and broadcast it on the BBC. They said that they thought that if the murderer was not a lunatic, then he was a criminal maniac.

Ivy Griffiths had worked at the Royal Ordnance Factory in Swynnertin during the war and had been living apart from her husband by mutual agreement for about 12 months. Her husband was a bus driver but had recently been released from the RAF and was living in Stafford at the time of her death.

The police later made appeals over loudspeakers at the Royal Ordnance Factory where she used to work during the war in an effort to trace every man and woman friend of hers from over the previous five years.

In August 1946 the police went to the Lucky Step lodging house in Union Street, Crewe to interview the keeper there. She said, 'I gave them information regarding a man who booked in here on June 27 and stayed two nights. He signed the register as a Canadian and he spoke with a Canadian accent. He was in civilian clothes'.

In February 1947 the police announced that they had a new secret clue which was very important but did not say what it was.


*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.


see National Archives - MEPO 3/2730

see Staffordshire Sentinel - Tuesday 09 July 1946

see Staffordshire Sentinel - Tuesday 30 July 1946

see Aberdeen Press and Journal - Monday 05 August 1946

see Liverpool Echo - Saturday 29 June 1946

see Staffordshire Sentinel - Friday 19 July 1946

see Lincolnshire Echo - Thursday 04 July 1946

see Staffordshire Sentinel - Thursday 03 October 1946

see Birmingham Daily Gazette - Friday 12 July 1946

see Staffordshire Sentinel - Wednesday 25 September 1946

see Western Daily Press - Friday 12 July 1946

see Daily Herald - Tuesday 25 February 1947

see Staffordshire Sentinel - Tuesday 16 July 1946

see Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail - Friday 28 June 1946

see Staffordshire Sentinel - Tuesday 23 July 1946

see Daily Herald - Monday 01 July 1946