Date: 6 Oct 1990
Gail Whitehouse was strangled and dumped in bushes off Steelhouse Lane in Wolverhampton.
She was last seen on the night of Monday 3 September 1990 around 10pm apparently trying to get into a lorry tractor and her body was found on Thursday 6 September 1990 about 75 yards away from where she was last seen.
Her body was found by two 17-year-old youths lying in some shrubs and bushes on the Thursday afternoon. She had been strangled.
When she was found she was still wearing her jewellery and the police said that they thought that that discounted robbery as the motive, although it was later noted that her Sekonda wrist watch was missing and the police said that they were interested in tracing it. They said that although there was no clear motive, they said that they were not ruling out the possibility that she had been murdered by a disgruntled client.
Gail Whitehouse had lived in Mayfield Road in Wolverhampton. Before she went out on the Monday night, she had left her two boys with a babysitter, but failed to collect them.
Gail Whitehouse was noted as previously having had a backlog of fines for soliciting, totalling about £4,000 but they had been quashed earlier in the year by a judge in order to give her a fresh start. She was described as a familiar figure in the red light district of Wolverhampton.
She had started work on Monday 3 September 1990 at about 6.30pm. She had dropped off her children and then gone to Steelhouse Lane where she usually stood on the corner.
She was seen getting into a green car with two Asian men, but was back again after about half-an-hour.
At about 9.20pm, a security guard pulled up in his car outside the SS Idhu Wines & Spirits shop to buy some cigarettes. He said that when he pulled up he saw Gail Whitehouse standing on a corner talking to an Asian man. He said that he went into the shop and got his cigarettes and that after he came out again and was lighting a cigarette he saw Gail Whitehouse go across the street towards a gold Cortina in the Royal Hospital car park that had another Asian man sitting on the bonnet and that when Gail Whitehouse and the man got to the car they all got in and drove off.
The police noted that Gail Whitehouse was brought back to the area by the men in the gold Cortina and that the men were not suspected in her murder, but said that they were still interested in speaking to them in case they knew anything that might help with their investigation.
One of Gail Whitehouse's friend said that she was picked up in Steelhouse Lane at about 10pm and that when she left, she left Gail Whitehouse standing there alone.
Shortly after, at about 10.10pm two other witnesses that had been driving along Steelhouse Lane said that they saw a girl like Gail Whitehouse standing by the tractor unit of a lorry in Jenner Street, just off Steelhouse Lane, looking like she was trying to get in, and that was the last that was known to have been seen of her. The police said that they were interested in talking to the driver of the lorry tractor, noting that they didn't know what type of vehicle it was, but said that it was thought to have had a grey or silver body.
It was also noted that the area around Steelhouse Lane was popular with lorry drivers who would often put up there for the night, including Adelaide Street by some wasteland, All Saints Road and Eagle street as well as the forecourt of Eager Tyre Services.
Shortly after, Gail Whitehouse's friend said that she came back to Steelhouse Lane, but said that Gail Whitehouse was nowhere to be seen.
The police said that they were also trying to trace a white car, which was thought to have possibly been a Metro which was seen on the Monday night at the junction of Cable Street, Steelhouse Lane and Caledonia Road at about 11.30pm.
The police noted that there had in fact been a speedway meeting at a venue between Reading and Wolverhampton and on the night Monday 3 September 1990 and that people attending that event might have also passed along Steelhouse Lane, which was described as a busy thoroughfare.
Gail Whitehouse's Sekonda wristwatch, which was found to be missing, was described as a ladies watch with a black round face with gold detail and Roman numerals, and featured a constellation of stars and a moving moon feature.
The police said that although they offered anonymity from clients who used the services of prostitutes in the area, they said that they were not getting the cooperation that they were hoping for and that people were not coming forward. They said that they had stopped over 500 cars and had carried out house to house investigations, noting that they were trying to build up a list of men that used the red light district for prostitutes and planned to vist evey man that they identified.
The police also said that they had combed the area with nearly 40 undercover policemen, searching for clues.
It was later noted that Gail Whitehouse's friend, Janine Downes, also a prostitute, was murdered herself on 2 February 1991 in a lay-by on the A464 Shifnal to Wolverhampton Road in Shropshire, and said that it was thought that she had been murdered because she had known too much about Gail Whitehouse's murder. A friend of Janine Downes said, 'Janine moved in here about two years ago. Last September Janine came here and said her friend had died and that someone had killed her. She had a very good idea who had done Gail and mentioned someone. Janine did not go to the police with the information because she had been in trouble with them herself'. The police later followed up the claim, but nothing much came of it.
Gail Whitehouse and Janine Downes were both said to have worked as prostitutes around the Walsall Street area of Wolverhampton.
see Oldest Prof
see Sandwell Evening Mail - Friday 07 September 1990
see Sandwell Evening Mail - Monday 10 September 1990
see Sandwell Evening Mail - Tuesday 11 September 1990
see Sandwell Evening Mail - Friday 21 September 1990
see Sandwell Evening Mail - Monday 17 September 1990
see Sandwell Evening Mail - Monday 22 October 1990
see Sandwell Evening Mail - Thursday 01 November 1990
see Sandwell Evening Mail - Tuesday 05 February 1991
see Sandwell Evening Mail - Friday 02 November 1990
see Sandwell Evening Mail - Tuesday 05 February 1991