Unsolved Murders

Christine Vivian Butcher

Age: 7

Sex: female

Date: 10 Jul 1951

Place: Stevens Meadow, Home Park, Windsor, Berkshire

Christine Butcher was raped and strangled in Windsor Home Park, Windsor.

She was last seen in Windsor on Sunday 8 July 1951 and was found in a copse two days later.

She was found by a man and his friend as they were taking a short cut from the Thames to the main Datchet Road across Stevens Meadow. The spot was described as being midway between Windsor Castle and Eton College.

She had lived on Peascod Street in Windsor near Windsor Castle where the Queen of England lived and enjoyed going out to see any famous people in the area.

It was said that when she heard that Sugar Ray Robinson the boxer had arrived in Windsor to train for his upcoming fight with Randolph Turpin she decided to go and show him her black piccaninny doll. The hotel that he was staying at, the Star and Garter Hotel, was only thirty yards away from where she lived. Her mother waved her off at 3.30am on the Sunday. However, Christine Butcher never got there and neither Sugar Ray Robinson nor the hotel staff ever saw her.

It was said that there had been about 10,000 visitors to Windsor on the day. It was said that there were 24,000 inhabitants in Windsor and reported that the police intended to interview them all over the murder.

She was found dead two days later, half dressed, in Stevens Meadow in Windsor Home Park, which was about a mile away from where she lived.

Lying beside her was the black doll that she had left home with to show 'Sugar' Ray Robinson along with a small bag of sweets that she had been last seen with.

She had been strangled with the belt from a blue gaberdine mackintosh which had been tied tightly round her neck. She also had a few abrasions on her face and one arm.

A 15-year-old friend of Christine Butcher's said that she saw Christine Butcher with a man in grey on the day she disappeared. She said that she waved at Christine Butcher and that Christine Butcher waved back.

She also said that two men, one an elderly man and the other dressed in grey had asked her to sit with them under some trees. She said that she was sure that she would recognise the man that had been with Christine Butcher if she saw him again.

Three films were given to the police showing the crowds outside the Star and Garter Hotel as people waited for a chance to see Sugar Ray Robinson. Two had been taken by amateurs. One film was in colour and had been taken by Mrs Sugar Ray Robinson and the other was by a local girl. The third film was by a television company. The film showed Christine Butcher with her black-faced doll in the background.

The police also appealed to people to look at their photographs of the day for clues, including pictures that might have included Christine Butcher.

It was said that over 100 people came forward with information following a general police appeal for help but said that no real clues had emerged.

A coach driver said that he had seen Christine Butcher alone in a car park at about 4pm on the Sunday, still carrying her doll, watching a sentry.

The last sighting was by a woman who said that she saw her about 4.07am walking down an alley behind some people towards the river.

Christine Butcher had been wearing a green and white gingham dress and blue mackintosh.

The police said that they thought that Christine Butcher had been taken away by people in a car and then murdered at nightfall.

On 17 July 1951 the police made an appeal for four people that had been seen in an alleyway to the side of the Star and Garter Hotel near the steps that led to the railway station. They were:

  1. A man aged 20 to 25 years, 5ft 11in, well-built, wearing a sandy coloured sports jacket and grey flannel trousers.
  2. A woman and child, no description available.
  3. A woman and child, no description available.
  4. A man aged 40 to 45 years, 5ft 9in, medium to stocky build, clean shaven.

It was said that they were all seen in the alleyway at about 4pm on the Sunday 8 July 1951 and that on not seeing Sugar Ray Robinson appear as expected, the first had said to another man, who had not been traced, 'I hope Turpin gives him a good hiding' to which the other man had replied, 'Don't worry, he will'.

The police said that there was good reason to believe that Christine Butcher had been in the immediate vicinity at the time.

The alleyway that they were in was said to have been known locally as 'Drive Slowly Alley' or Death Trap Alley' and was noted as being a favourite short cut through to the river.

The police said that they were also trying to trace a red-faced man who was seen outside Christine Butcher's home on the Sunday 8 July 1951. He was described as being red-faced, hatless and about 35-years-old.

The police re-enacted the murder on the afternoon of Sunday 15 July 1951 between 5pm and 5.30pm for which it was said that about 30,000 people turned out, but they drew a blank. The police said that there were about 1,000 people in and around the 45-acre meadow where Christine Butcher was murdered and the police described it as looking like a beach.

The police later released the description of a man who they thought could help with their enquiries:

  • Height: 5ft 10in or 5ft 11in tall.
  • Age: About 35.
  • Hair: Fair hair brushed back, clean shaven.
  • Complexion: Reddish.
  • Clothes: Plain navy-blue suit, with no hat.

The pathologist that examined Christine Butcher's body said that he thought that she had been strangled where she was found, noting that grass that was still rooted in the ground was found caught up in the knot of the mackintosh belt that was found tied tightly round her neck.

It was thought that she had been murdered on the day that she disappeared, Sunday 8 July 1951.

Christine Butcher's mother said that she could not think what had induced her to go off with a stranger, saying, 'I had always told her not to, and I could not imagine her doing so. She was never really allowed out'.

Her inquest which took place on Friday 21 September 1951 returned a verdict of 'murder by some person or persons unknown'.

The police said that they had taken over 1,800 statements.

The police initially connected her murder with that of 5-year-old Brenda Goddard in Bath who was killed on 15 July 1951, but the police later ruled out any connection. The murder of Brenda Goddard was solved shortly after.

Following the murder, further reports of little girls being molested were reported with Hampshire police and the RAF combing woods at East Cholderton near Andover looking for a man who was said to have pointed a revolver at a seven-year-old girl and two boys aged 10 and 12 on the Tuesday evening 17 July 1951. Wiltshire police were also reported to have been searching for a man who frightened a 12-year-old girl near South Wraxhall, also on the Tuesday.

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

see www.truecrimelibrary.com

see National Archives - MEPO 2/9118

see Daily Mirror Tue 10 Jul 1951 Page 8

see Daily Mirror Thu 12 Jul 1951 Page 1

see Evening Herald (Dublin) - Monday 16 July 1951

see Western Mail - Friday 21 September 1951

see Birmingham Daily Gazette - Thursday 19 July 1951

see Western Mail - Monday 16 July 1951

see Yorkshire Evening Post - Thursday 19 July 1951

see Coventry Evening Telegraph - Wednesday 11 July 1951

see Daily Mirror - Wednesday 18 July 1951

see Liverpool Echo - Tuesday 17 July 1951

see Northern Whig - Friday 13 July 1951

see Coventry Evening Telegraph - Tuesday 17 July 1951, p16

see Daily Mirror Fri 13 Jul 1951 Page 12

see Daily Express Mon 16 Jul 1951 Page 5

see Shields Daily News - Thursday 19 July 1951