Unsolved Murders

Sarah Ann Walker

Age: 67

Sex: female

Date: 10 Jun 1900

Place: Dales Wood, Bloxwich, Bentley, Willenhall

Sarah Ann Walker was outraged and left to die in Dales Wood on 10 June 1900.

A soldier was charged with her murder but the case was thrown out by the judge.

On Sunday 10 June 1900 a Keysmith was walking through a coppice, Dales Wood, close to the Bloxwich Sewerage Works in the parish of Bentley and three quarters of a mile from Bloxwich when he saw Sarah Walker lying on the ground in a pool of blood. He raised her up and found that she was in an exhausted state. He asked her how she came to be there and she said that she didn’t know.

He then fetched a woman from a nearby cottage close to the copse. When the woman arrived, she noticed that her eye was nearly closed from a blow she had received and asked Sarah Walker why she was there and she again said that she didn’t know and asked the woman to get her a cup of tea. The woman got her some tea and stayed with her holding her up doing her best for her but she died a few minutes before 11 o'clock.

After they sent for Sarah Walker's married daughter who lived with her mother at 19 Elmore Green, Bloxwich. She said that the last she knew of her mother was that she had gone into Bloxwich on the Saturday morning and that that night Sarah Walker had left their house about 10.45pm with the intention of going to the George Inn for some whisky. She said that she had been up until past midnight that Saturday and had heard nothing.

A Policeman then arrived and Sarah Walker's body was taken away on a stretcher to the White Lion pub in Short Heath.

A doctor who examined her body said he found scratches and bruises on her body and wrists indicating that she had been held tightly in a struggle.

Later at midnight, on the Monday a man who had been with her on the night of her murder was arrested.

At the inquest, the 19 year old daughter of Sarah Walker said that she lived at 19 Elmore Green, Bloxwich with her mother and two sisters and that she had been out about 10.30pm on the Saturday near the Bulls Head Inn in Bloxwich where she had seen the man and that they went into the passage of the inn and had drinks together which the man paid for. She said that after that she and her mother went home, stopping off at the George inn on the way, where they called for half a pint of ale and twopennyworth of whisky which the man who had followed them paid for.

After the daughter and Sarah Walker went home and immediately on their arrival Sarah Walker took an empty whisky bottle and left to get some whisky.

The daughters husband corroborated his wife’s statement and also said that he had seen a man leaning over a wall near the house and heard him shout to her asking her to go to his house as his wife was near her confinement and he wanted Sarah Walker to wait upon her. As Sarah Walker went out the man shouted to her Come on old woman have a drink before you go and they both went off towards the Thatched House Tavern.

The landlord of the Thatched House Tavern said that at 10.55pm he saw Sarah Walker come into his house for some whisky and said that she was quite sober.

Another woman who was out that night said that at about 10.40pm she had seen Sarah Walker walking with a soldier going in the direction of Short Heath towards the place where Sarah Walker was later found. She said that she passed them near Lindops Brickyard and that they were walking erect and not conversing. The court heard that it would have taken 5-6 minutes to reach the Thatched House Tavern from Lindops Brickyard.

The soldier was charged with her murder, but the case was thrown out.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Saturday 16 June 1900

see Gloucester Citizen - Thursday 26 July 1900

see Walsall Advertiser - Saturday 16 June 1900

see National Archives - ASSI 6/35