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Unsolved Murders

Margaret Cook

Age: 26

Sex: female

Date: 10 Nov 1946

Place: Carnaby Street, London

Source: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Margaret Cook was shot in Carnaby Street, London on 9 November 1946.

She was shot through the heart with a .25 calibre bullet from a German automatic pistol in a narrow passage outside the Blue Lagoon nightclub in the West End at about 9.35pm. However, a man later confessed to her murder in 2015, saying that he shot her with a Russian gun during a row over money.

It was said that she had referred to the person that had shot her as her 'new boyfriend' and that she had warned people that he had a revolver.

It was reported that a former policeman had been walking along Carnaby Street near Regent Street when he had seen Margaret Cook and a man in the alley that led to the Blue Lagoon Club. He said that Margaret Cook shouted to him, 'This man has got a gun!' and that he stopped to look and that the man then said to him, 'Get on your way, chum, this has nothing to do with you'. The former policeman said that he then walked on a short distance and then heard a gunshot and that when he turned he saw the man run out into the street. He said that he tried to chase him but lost him near Oxford Circus tube station.

The man was also chased by another man and a woman, but they too lost the man.

A witness said that the man that shot her was aged between 25 and 30, about 5ft 8in tall with a dark complexion and had been wearing a pork-pie hat and a Burberry coat.

The man was seen a while earlier quarrelling with Margaret Cook and was seen to pull her into the doorway of the Blue Lagoon Club which was closed at the time where they continued to argue.

At the time the police said that they were looking for anyone that had seen Margaret Cook between 8.45pm and 9.10pm in either Great Windmill Street, Donman Street or Sherwood Street, to come forward.

At the time Margaret Cook had been wearing a fawn coat, a pink blouse, a brown check costume, no stockings, brown or fawn shoes and was hatless.

At the time a labourer from Lanarkshire was suspected by the police, but no charges were made.

However, in 2015 a Canadian man confessed to her murder. He was 91 years old and living in Ontario and had just been diagnosed with skin cancer when he was 89 years old and said that he wanted to clear his conscience before he died. He had confessed after walking in to a Canadian police station. He said that he shot her with a Russian made World War Two pistol after she cheated him out of money. When police from Scotland Yard went out to see him, it was reported that whilst the Canadian man could not remember Margaret Cook's name, he was able to identify her from a photo. It was said that he was shown twelve images of women from that era and that he had picked out Margaret Cook's photo.

He had left the United Kingdom five years after her murder in 1951 and immigrated to Canada where he started a new life and became a Canadian citizen.

It was reported that in July 2015 that the British authorities were trying to extradite the Canadian man but that up to that date the Canadian government had not replied. It was reported that they had stated that whilst the man was mentally fit to stand trial, they were undecided over whether he was too old to be extradited and noted that without his confession there was no evidence against him.

It was claimed that the time between the murder and the confession was the longest in British history.

When the police investigated Margaret Cook's murder, they found that she had lived at 20 addresses in the previous two years and had used several different names.

It was also suggested that she had been shot by a pimp as a warning to prostitutes to pay their cut.

Her friends had also described Margaret Cook as a frightened woman, saying that they thought that a man was trying to get money from her.

It was also suggested that she might have been married by a serial killer operating in the Soho area who was also responsible for the later murders of Rita Green in 1947 and Rachel Fennick in 1948, both of whom were killed in Soho.

She had come from Bradford where she was known as Margaret Willis, which was the name of her foster parents.

Her husband had been in Bradford at the time of her murder.

She had married a 24-year-old ex-soldier in 1945 and had been living in Devonshire Terrace in Paddington at the time and had described herself as an 'exotic dancer'. She was also described as a torch singer, which was a theme of songs about unrequited love.


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


see National Archives - MEPO 3/2746

see Aberdeen Press and Journal - Monday 11 November 1946

see Standard

see Wikipedia

see Independent

see Murder Mile Tours

see Toronto Sun

see The Sun

see The Star