Unsolved Murders

Margaret Ann Haldane

Age: 21

Sex: female

Date: 22 Oct 1963

Place: Dean Street, Soho, London

Margaret Haldane was murdered on Dean Street, Soho on 22 October 1963, just before 8pm.

She was said to have been stabbed to death by a coloured man.

She was stabbed in Dean Street about 150 yards from Shaftesbury Avenue.

She had lived with her parents in Elberon Avenue in Bedlington and had been a civil servant at the Admiralty where she works as a clerk and typist, earning £12 a week. She had worked there for the previous five years and dealt with non-secret work concerning the transport of naval stores overseas.

She had worked with 80 other girl clerks, all of whom were questioned, but they were unable to reveal anything on why she might have been in Soho.

She was described as very attractive, but rather shy. She was blonde and had been an only-child.

Her inquest, which was held at St Pancras, found that she died from a stab wound to the chest.

After being stabbed she was taken to Middlesex Hospital but was found to be dead on arrival.

Her killer was described as:

  • Scruffy.
  • Aged 25 to 30.
  • 6ft tall.
  • Well built.
  • Small untidy dark beard.
  • Half-caste or coloured Latin type. Also described as coffee coloured and possibly a Turk or a half-caste Indian.
  • Wearing a chocolate brown suit with the trousers about three inches above his shoes.
  • Wore heavy-rimmed dark glasses.

The police appealed for the man to come forwards, stating that they thought he could help with their inquiries.

He was seen running off down a side street.

She was found lying on the pavement in Dean Street after a restaurant commissionaire heard a woman's screams.

Margaret Haldane had been neatly dressed in a grey speckled jersey wool jumper and skirt with a blue and brown top-coat and black patent leather and cloth Italian style court shoes. She had also been wearing a violet Alice band around her hair.

A French cook's knife was found not far from the spot where she was stabbed and the police released a description of it, appealing to anyone that might have bought the knife. They said that the knife, which was fairly new in appearance, was a prestige, six-inch French cook's knife with a vanadium stainless hollow ground blade and a four-and-a-half-inch wooden handle. The Prestige catalogue number for the knife was P676.

As part of their investigation, the police posted 1,000 leaflets up in pubs, strip clubs and drinking dens around Soho appealing for clues. Two photographs of Margaret Haldane appeared on the leaflet, which disclosed for the first time that:

she was keen on rhythm and blues music and frequented clubs and cafes to dance or listen to this type of music.

It was reported that the police had discovered that Margaret Haldane had been living a secret life and that whilst her parents had thought that she had been at evening classes, she had in fact been meeting a man in Soho. The police said that they had been unable to trace her name on the register of any night school in the district.

The police said that they were trying to solve the mystery of two missing days in her life, noting that she hadn't turned up for work at the Admiralty on the Monday or the Tuesday.

It was also found that she had not atended her evening classes in Croydon where she had been studying French and Italian on Monday night, with it being reported that the police were trying to trace the person that Margaret Haldane went 'up west' in London with on one or two evenings every week, which were the nights that her parents thought she had been studying French and Italian.

The police also said that they were working on the theory that Margaret Haldane had gone to Soho to search for an ex-boyfriend on the night she was murdered.

It was noted that she had bought a single rail ticket to London instead of her usual return after she had left her home for work on the Tuesday morning. She had also told friends that she was looking for an ex-boyfriend.

Margaret Haldane's mother said:

Whoever did this must be a madman. She didn't have an enemy in the world. Margaret was not a good-time girl. She was quiet and took her work seriously.

Her post mortem also revealed that Margaret Haldane had eaten a curry meal just before she died.

The police said that the question baffling them was why a respectable, well-brought up girl like Margaret Haldane was stabbed in that particular vicinity. They said that after speaking to dozens of club girls, barmen and habitues of the clubs in the area, that they were sure that Margaret Haldane had not been a regular visitor to soho. They said that that would have made the murder without motive and probably committed by a man that she had never seen before.

It was reported that Soho had been a place where many of the habitues found it unwise to notice any unlawful acts, and that the police had had great difficulty in finding eye-witnesses to the crime.

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

see www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

see National Archives - MEPO 2/11023

see Daily Mirror - Friday 24 January 1964

see Torbay Express and South Devon Echo - Wednesday 23 October 1963

see Birmingham Daily Post - Saturday 26 October 1963

see Daily Herald - Thursday 14 November 1963

see Liverpool Daily Post - Wednesday 23 October 1963

see Birmingham Daily Post - Wednesday 23 October 1963

see Aberdeen Press and Journal - Thursday 24 October 1963

see Liverpool Echo - Wednesday 23 October 1963

see Newcastle Journal - Friday 25 October 1963

see Daily Mirror - Thursday 24 October 1963 (picture of Margaret Haldane)

see Coventry Evening Telegraph - Wednesday 23 October 1963