Unsolved Murders

Alice Maud Lawn

Age: 56

Sex: female

Date: 27 Jul 1921

Place: King Street, Cambridge

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Alice Maud Lawn was killed in her general shop.

She was found done to death at the foot of the stairs leading to her bedroom.

A man was arrested and tried for her murder but acquitted.

Alice Lawn had run a shop on King Street. Whilst it was thought that the motive was robbery 118 £1 notes and 24 10s. notes and some jewellery was later found under a carpet and a bank book with £469 credit was found under some linoleum.

A little girl had gone to her shop at 9a to buy flour giving Alice Lawn a 10s. note for which she got change and later at 10.45am a baker brought her some bread and was thought to have been the last person to see her alive. Later at 11.10am a man went to buy cigarettes but found the shop shut and later still at 11.30am a passer-by heard a scratching noise coming from the shop and at 3.15pm her body was found

The man that was tried had made eight different statements and was said to have told a man in Bedford Prison that he had killed her saying 'I did it all right, it was by the stairs'.

He was also known to have been short of money around the time and had pawned his cap on 25 or 26 July 1921.

However, it was also thought that the killer would have had blood on his clothes but none could be fund on his although he did borrow another man's coat that evening saying that his had red pain on it.

He had been seen at the Rose and Crown pub at 10.55am on Newmarket Road and later at 3.20pm again in Newmarket Road, about 3/4of a mile from Alice Lawn's shop, by a woman where it was said he had mentioned the murder even though the police had not known about it themselves until 3.25pm.

The prosecution said that he had probably gone to her shop and found it empty and gone through the till and when he was surprised by Alice Lawn he had attacked her.

When she was found her legs were drawn up at the knees which were exposed and a dirty rag was hanging out of her mouth having been firmly jammed in and a cord was tied around her neck. The gag had been so tight that it had broken a molar in her dentures and driven it back into her throat and some other teeth had been loosened and had torn her tongue.

She also had wounds on her forehead and scalp which were said to have been caused by violent blows and her skull had been smashed in at one point by a blunt-pointed instrument.

It was thought that the first blow to her forehead had not been fatal and that she had probably been knocked unconscious but later come round.

Coloured water was found on the table and blood smears were found on a tea cloth which were thought to have been left when the killer wiped his hands.

A Corporation labourer had said that he had seen a biggish built man near the rear of her shop counting coppers at about 2.45pm. The man that was tried had also been seen several times in King Street.


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


see Western Times - Saturday 10 September 1921

see Dundee Evening Telegraph - Monday 22 August 1921

see Gloucestershire Echo - Thursday 08 September 1921

see Western Morning News - Tuesday 09 August 1921

see Gloucester Citizen - Wednesday 14 September 1921

see Hull Daily Mail - Thursday 08 September 1921

see Dundee Courier - Tuesday 18 October 1921