Unsolved Murders

Patricia Grainger

Age: 25

Sex: female

Date: 10 Aug 1997

Place: Colley Drive, Parson Cross, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Source: en.wikipedia.org

Patricia Grainger was murdered and dumped in a brook in woodlands close to a housing estate where she lived.

She had a mental age of 10 and had learning difficulties and had been missing from her home for about a week.

She was found in the brook under the water and beneath an old divan bed base on the Sunday afternoon 10 August 1997 by some children playing. When she was found it was noted that her skirt, blouse, cardigan and trainers had been rearranged.

The brook was known as Tongue Gutter, Sheffield Lane Dike and The Brook.

Her post-mortem stated that she had been strangled and stabbed four times in the neck as well as having been sexually assaulted although the exact cause of death was stated as being inconclusive. It was thought that she had been in the water for about 24-hours. It was also noted that her lungs had contained water from the brook which indicated that an attempt had also been made to drown her and that she had been breathing when she went into the water. She also had bruises over her body indicating that she had been beaten.

It was thought that the area around the brook would have been dark at the time indicating that the assault against her might have happened elsewhere and that she was later taken there and then dumped in the water and covered with rubbish.

The police said that they could not say whether she had been murdered at the scene or elsewhere, but they did say that her body had been deliberately concealed beneath the divan in the brook. The divan base was first described as a mattress. It was noted that the divan base which was kept as evidence was later thrown away after the police concluded that there was no evidence on it.

Patricia Grainger had the mental age of 10, was partially deaf and it was thought she had ADHD and that her murder or murderers had taken advantage of her mental age and lured her to the place where she was found dead.

In August 1997 three people were initially held in relation to her murder but later released. It was heard that they had made conflicting accounts of where Patricia Grainger had stayed during her last week.

In September 1997 a 45-year-old man was charged with her murder but later released. After he was charged local residents on the council estate threw stones through the man's windows. The man, who was married and had children moved to another house leaving his house boarded up after which it was set on fire. It was heard that the case against the man later collapsed.

In 2008 two people were arrested for her murder but later released without charge in April 2009.

Patricia Grainger had lived in Buchanan Road in Parson Cross but it was thought that she had spent the previous week elsewhere although it is not known where. She had lived at home but had not stayed there since the Monday 4 August 1997. Her parents said that she often visited friends and stayed away from home and it wasn't until later in the week that they reported her missing. Three possible sightings of her where made during that week:

  • Tuesday 5 August 1997: She was possibly seen near the place where her body was later found.
  • Thursday 7 August 1997: She was confirmed to have been seen at the Northern General Hospital.
  • Saturday 9 August 1997: She was possibly seen at 7.45am talking to a man at the junction of Holgate Crescent and Holgate Road.

A sighting of a suspicious scruffy looking man was seen in the Collinson/Adrian Crescent area near to where Patricia Grainger lived and was found dead in the early hours of 10 August 1997. He was said to have intimidated a woman that was passing as he stared straight at her. He was described as white, about 30-years-old, 5ft 6in tall and with dark greasy or gelled hair.

In August 1998 the police announced that they had found DNA evidence relevant to the case on some of her clothing. It was later heard that the police had disposed of some of the items of evidence which was said to have been part of standard procedure.

In October 1998 it was revealed that the police had carried out an undercover surveillance on one of the men originally suspected of her murder during which they had posed as decorators at a neighbouring house. However, nothing came of the operation.

It was also thought that during the last week she might have been going back to her house without her parents knowing as there were reports of her wearing clothing during her weeks absence that was later found at her house and it was thought that she had gone home and changed her clothes. However, her step-father said that he was unaware of her having returned home during the week in question.

It was also thought that she might have been near the brook at the time she was murdered because she was going home but was scared because she would get told off because she had been away for the week.

The police later said that the community in the Parson Cross area was close-knit and that they believed that some people there knew who had murdered her.

Patricia Grainger had lived at home with her mother, step-father and her 5-year-old son. She was also known as Little Pat. It was noted that Patricia Grainger was often bullied by children and adults in the Parson Cross area because of her mental age and that when she would often sit outside her home on the wall people would spit, smack or insult her for no reason.

It was also noted that she was a big person and although vulnerable mentally she would have probably put up a fight. It was also noted that she often had fights at her home and broke windows and had to be thrown out to calm her down.

Patricia Grainger was later buried in Shiregreen Cemetery in October 1997.


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