Unsolved Murders

Emma Grace

Age: 38

Sex: female

Date: 25 May 1951

Place: 110 Irlam Road, Bootle

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Emma Grace was found dead, fully dressed, in a bath at her home on the afternoon of 25 May 1951.

Her neighbour, a French woman, was tried for her murder at the Manchester Assizes but acquitted on Friday 13 July 1951.

She was accused of murdering Emma Grace during an argument but she said that a man with big ugly hairy hands closed the bathroom door behind her, threatened her with a gun and then lifted Emma Grace into the bath and held her under until she drowned.

When she was brought up before the magistrates the day after the murder, the French woman became quite hysterical and declared, 'I never murdered Emma Grace. God help me, I never did. She has been good to me in every way. We never had a quarrel. I never touched her'.

Emma Grace lived at 110 Irlam Road, Bootle which was a three-storey house with her three daughters. She had been a 'clippie' during the war but had at the time worked for a pools firm.

The ground floor was occupied by the French woman, her husband and her three children. There was also a room opposite their bathroom at the top of the first flight of stairs that was un-occupied. The rest of the house was occupied by Emma Grace and her three daughters.

The bathroom was never used by Emma Grace's family except for the toilet and the grace family all worked during the day and slept together in a large front bedroom in two separate beds.

On 25 May 1951 Emma Grace left work with her wages at 3.45pm and was seen to have been let in by the French woman at about 4.25pm. During the next 30 minutes screams and shouts were heard from the upstairs and two neighbours went into the house to investigate and found the French woman in the bathroom with the door closed. They asked if she was alright and on the first occasion, she said 'I take my bath', and then asked them to give the children who were screaming downstairs some biscuits.

Minutes later the French woman ran into a nearby shop. She was distressed, had no shoes on and her blouse was open and her bosom exposed and her hair and clothes were wet. She told the woman that there had been a man in the bathroom and the shop keeper went to have a look and found Emma Grace dead in the bath which was full of water.

The shopkeeper had gone into the house and then into the bathroom where he saw Emma Grace in the bath full of water and had then pulled out the plug after which the police were called, arriving at 5.05pm.

One of her the French woman's shoes, a purse, a denture, and several personal belongings were found in the bath. The French womans other shoe was found behind the door of the bathroom.

The autopsy showed that Emma Grace had died from drowning whilst partially conscious due to the injuries to her head.

After the murder, the French woman waited downstairs in the kitchen and kept repeating that she heard Emma Grace cry out and she went upstairs and found her lying on the floor in the bathroom bleeding from injuries to her head and that as she entered the bathroom she was seized by a man who closed the door behind her and threatened her and then drowned Emma Grace and then fled. She said that the man rushed out of the bathroom after drowning Emma Grace and went out through the front door.

When the police arrived at 110 Irlam Road at about 8.15pm on 25 May 1951, they said that they went into the kitchen where they saw the French woman sitting on the settee with a woman sat by her side consoling her and a number of other people in the room. The police said that the French woman then started to talk about a man in the bathroom and said that when they asked for more information about the man that she said, 'He ran out of the front door and I after him'. They said that she then went on to say that he was ugly, had a flat nose and thin gingery hair and that he had been wearing a blue shirt, brown shoes and to indicate the colour of his tie, she pointed to a dark oak cupboard on the wall.

The police said that the French woman then said that the man had told her to keep quiet and to open her blouse and said that when they heard people coming up the stairs that he told her to say nothing or she would never see her kids again. She said that she then told the people who came up the stairs to give the children biscuits off the sideboard.

The police said that the French woman said that the man, who had been holding Emma Grace over the bath, then went out and that she followed him in her bare feet.

The police said that it was practically impossible for a man to conceal himself behind the door in the bathroom which was very small.

The police also noted that the French woman made no mention of the money that was found hidden under the fireplace in some newspaper of the room opposite the bathroom.

The French woman was charged with Emma Grace's murder the following day, 26 May 1951.

A widow who lived at 112b Irlam Road in Bootle, on the second floor of the house next door to where Emma Grace and the French woman lived said that on the afternoon of 25 May 1951 that she had been washing in the front hall downstairs and had gone into the yard to empty the water, which would have been between 4.15pm and 4.30pm. She said that when she went into the yard she heard the French woman's children screaming, noting that they were in their own backyard on the other side of the dividing wall. She said that she then heard the French woman scream out a few hysterical screams and wail out, 'Oh my God, what can I do'. She said that she was in the yard when she first heard the French woman screaming and said that she thought that the scream had come from the direction of the French womans' kitchen and hall, saying that it then went higher. She said that she couldn't hear another woman screaming, but said that she could hear a sound as if sombody was running up the top stairs.

She said that from the yard that she went up to her own kitchen and opened the window. She said that the children were still in the back yard and said that when she first opened the window there was no shouting or screaming from 110 Irlam Road and said that neither did she hear any more. She said that she then got her coat on and went downstairs and went out the front way, noting that she could see from her window that the back door to the yard of 110 was bolted. She said that the door leading into the back kitchen was wide open and that whilst she was watching from the window she saw nobody. She said that when she came out of her front door she went to the front door of 110 and knocked and tried it, but said that it was locked and that no one answered it.

She said that she then went to the shop at 106 Irlam Road and saw the shopkeeper and then went back to 110 Irlam Road with the shopkeeper and then went into the house. She said that she went upstairs to the kitchen and looked through the window whilst the shopkeeper went round the back and climbed over the wall by the side of the door on the right and said that she then saw him go through the back door of the house.

She said that he was only in there for a second and then came out, saying that he then went out through the back-yard door which he unbolted.

She said that she remained at her window for a short time but said that she didn't hear any more noise from 110 and said that shortly after her neighbour from below came home. She said that she came up to the kitchen, at which time the children were still crying, and said that 110 was still quiet other than the children who were still screaming.

She said that her neighbour then went downstairs to the back of 110 and that she saw her go in through the back-yard door and saw her go into the house. She said that she was only there for a few minutes and that she then saw her come out and then saw her give the children some biscuits.

She said that she then went downstairs and through her own back yard door and waited at the door that led into the back-yard of 110. She said that her downstairs neighbour and another lady were with her.

She said that from her kitchen she could see the bathroom window of 110, noting that it was frosted glass.

she said that after the shopkeeper came out of the house that she could see movements on the other side of the bathroom window but said that she could not see whether it was more than one person or not.

She noted that she could also see the overflow from the bathroom of 110 from her kitchen window but didn't notice any water while she was looking through the window upstairs.

She said that she noticed for the first time some water coming from the bathroom when she was talking to her downstairs neighbour and another lady at 110.

She said that about ten minutes later she was in the French woman's flat when the French woman was brought in through the front door. She said that she asked the French woman what was the matter and said that she rolled her eyes and said, 'A man with a gun'. She then said, 'There's always men running from one room to another'.

She said that she then heard the French woman ask her downstairs neighbour why she didn't come into the bathroom and said that the downstairs neighbour replied, 'You told me not to', and said that the French woman then said, 'There was a man with a gun told me to say that'.

The woman who lived with her husband on the ground floor at 12a Irlam Road in Bootle said that she came home at about 4.50pm on 25 May 1951. She said that when she got home the woman from the flat upstairs opened the door for her and that she stood in the hall with her, stating that she heard no children crying or anything.

She said that they then went upstairs together to the woman's kitchen and looked out of the window and saw the French woman with her three children in the back yard of 110, saying that they were crying and trying to open the back door.

She said that she then shouted to the children and then went downstairs and out through her back yard door and into the back yard door of 110 and then went into the house by the back door, leaving the children in the yard and went straight up to the bathroom, noting that she didn't see the French woman anywhere on the way up. She said that she found that the bathroom door was shut and so she shouted for the French woman and asked if she was alright and said that the French woman replied, 'Yes'. She said that she then asked her what she was going to do about her children as they were crying in the back yard and said that after a few seconds she answered and asked her to give them a few biscuits out of the sideboard. She noted that there was a distinct pause between her asking the question and the French woman answering, but not such that she answered as she was walking away.

The woman from the ground floor flat at 112a said that she then went downstairs and got some biscuits and gave them to the children.

She said that the French woman's voice sounded normal to her when she spoke to her from inside the bathroom saying that the only other noise, she heard was the tap running as if the bath was being filled.

She said that as she was giving the children the biscuits she noticed the water running into the drain in the back yard and that she then heard the bathroom door clicking as if the lock was getting turned to open the door.

She said that when she heard the lock turn she went back into 110 and went upstairs, noting that she had been in the yard for about three or four minutes saying that during all that time that she had been standing just by the back door. She said that just as she got to the bathroom door the French woman and the shopkeeper’s wife were coming through the front door of 110.

She said that she did not hear anyone come downstairs during the time she was with the children or from the time when she came downstairs after the French woman told her to get the biscuits. She said that when she came out with the biscuits she closed the back door.

She said that when she saw the French woman come in through the door she was hysterical. She said that her blouse was open and she had no shoes on and the ends of her hair were wet.

She said that the French woman then asked her why she didn't open the bathroom door and said that she replied, 'You told me you were all right'.

The woman from 112a said that she did not think the stairs were covered with any lino, and said that she thought that they were just wooden stairs.

She said that the French woman told her that a man had been pointing a gun at her and that if she did not say it he would hurt one of her children, noting that she never mentioned Emma Grace.

She said that after the French woman returned to the house in a hysterical state that they all went into the French woman's living room. She said that the French woman was still hysterical and that she could not make out what she was saying and didn't remember anything that she was saying.

A dock labourer, the shopkeeper, who lived at 108 Irlam Road in Bootle said that on 25 May 1951 that he was in his father-in-law's greengrocer's shop at 108 Irlam Road when a woman came in  and spoke to his wife, which he said would have been about 4.30pm. He said that he then went to the back of 110 Irlam Road but found the back yard door bolted and so he went into his own premises at 108 and climbed on to the wall and walked along it to the dividing wall between 110 and 112. He said that he then walked down the dividing wall to a position opposite the bathroom of 110 and said that he could see movements behind the glass. However, he said that he could not say what the movement was as the glass was frosted and he could not see what was happening behind it. He said that the movement might have been a garment.

He said that he heard nothing from inside the bathroom and that he then returned along the wall to the lowest part and jumped down into the back yard of 110 where the French woman’s children were, noting that he could see that they had been crying.

He said that he then went through the back kitchen door and stood at the bottom of the stairs and called out for the French woman but did not get a reply, saying that there was no noise.

He said that he then proceeded up the stairs and knocked at the bathroom door and then heard the French woman say 'I take my bath'. He noted that there was no space between his knocking and her replying. He noted that he could not say that he had heard her speak often and only noticed a slight accent.  He added also that he heard running water like a tap was running. He also said that when he knocked at the bathroom door all he did was call out the French woman's name, saying that he didn't ask her if she was all right.

He said that he then went downstairs and out through the back door which he left unbolted and then went back to the greengrocers shop.

He said that he had been in the shop for about ten minutes when the French woman rushed in very excited at which time he was in the rear of the shop, saying that she was gesticulating with her arms and was saying, 'Man in the bathroom', noting that that was all he could distinguish. He said that her dress was very loose around her front and her blouse was unfastened and that she had no shoes, but didn't take much notice of her hair.

He said that his wife tried to console her and to take her into their sitting room but said that the French woman did not want that and so they took her to her own house, 110 and he followed her in and took her into her own living room. He said that the French woman kept repeating, 'Man in bathroom' and said that his wife said in the French woman's presence, 'Go upstairs and see'.

The dock worker said that he then went upstairs and found the bathroom door open and that the first thing he saw was a body in the bath which he said was full of water and overflowing. He said that the body was lying on its left side with the head pointing towards the tap end, noting that the body appeared fully dressed. He noted that the body was absolutely under the water. He noted that there was a lot of water on the floor.

He said that the first thing that he did was to pull the plug out and to lift the body up with one hand, but said that he didn't think there was any sign of life and so he left it in the same position as he found it and then went for assistance.

He said that he didn't see the French woman again that night.

The dock labourer's wife who also ran the greengrocers shop at 108 Irlam Road said that she looked after her father's greengrocery business and that on the afternoon of 25 May 1951 she remembered the woman from 112b coming into her shop at about 4.40pm or 4.45pm and then remembered the French woman come in just before 5pm. She said that when the French woman came in she was very distressed and was crying. She said that she was bare in front as her blouse was unfastened and said that she didn't seem to have any underclothes on under her blouse and that her chest seemed all bare. She added that she didn't have on any stockings or shoes on either.

She said that she noticed that the French woman's hair was hanging loose and that it was damp and rather wet round the ends where it fell to her shoulders. She said that she also noticed some loose hairs round her shoulders.

She said that the French woman then asked her why she didn't help her when she called her and said that she told the French woman that she couldn’t go but had sent her husband.

She said that the French woman then told her that there had been a man upstairs attacking her.

She said that the French woman then walked over to her and put her hand on her shoulders and said that she then put her arm round her and that it was then that she noticed that her hair was wet.

She said that she then took her to her own house and said that her husband followed. She said that the French woman was talking more or less in French and that she didn't understand her. However, she said that the French woman still insisted that there was a man upstairs and asked her again why she didn't come and help her and she said that she told the French woman again that she had sent her husband and told her that he had knocked on the bathroom door and that she had told him that she was taking a bath.

The greengrocer's daughter then said that the French woman then told her that there had been a man with a gun in the bathroom with her who had told her to say that she was taking a bath.

She said that the French woman first of all said that the man had come in the back way and said that when she told her that the door had been bolted, she said, 'He came over the wall'. The woman said that she then asked her husband to go up to the bathroom and have a look and said that after he did so and came back down he went off to get the police.

The greengrocer's daughter said that during the conversation that she had with the French woman that she asked where Emma Grace was and said that the French woman told her that she had gone out covered in blood. She said that she noticed that the French woman's face was very puffy as though she had been crying.

When a policeman arrived they examined Emma Grace's body in the bath and took note of the items around her including the shoe, a stick of yellow sugar rock in transparent paper wrapping that was in the bath near Emma Grace's head, a denture, a flat purse that was near her knees and a tie that was on the wood at the head of the bath at the opposite end to the taps.

The policeman said that there was a box type lock on the door and that there was a key in it. They then examined the two rooms on the first floor but said that they didn't appear to have been disturbed.

The policeman said that they then went to see the French woman who was in the downstairs room. They said that she was very hysterical and was shivering and that her blouse was undone down her front and her hair and forehead were damp and she was not wearing any shoes. The policeman said that she was nursing two young children and said that they could not get any statement from her as she was very hysterical.

When a detective arrived the policeman showed him Emma Grace's body and the detective then spoke to Emma Grace, at about 5.35pm, and asked her to tell him what had happened and said that Emma Grace replied, 'There were noises upstairs, I went upstairs, a man hitting Mrs Grace. Mrs Grace said, 'Go for help, for God's sake', I came downstairs'. The detective then asked the French woman if she would recognise the man and the French woman replied, 'There are different men at night'. The detective then asked the French woman if she had seen the man and said that the French woman replied, He was behind the door, he was wearing brown sandals'.

The detective said that he arrived at about 5.33pm or 5.34pm and saw the policeman who showed him Emma Grace's body. He said that she was in the bath in the bathroom at the top of the stairs. He said that the bath was completely empty and that Emma Grace had been wearing a blue industrial overall, a set of underclothing and stockings and that they were saturated with water.

He said that he then went downstairs and spoke to the French woman who he said that crying and was in a hysterical condition and shaking. He said that it was rather difficult to hear what she was saying but said that he understood certain things that she said to him. He said that in answer to his questions, the French woman said:

  • There were noises upstairs, there was banging.
  • I went upstairs, a man hitting Mrs Grace.
  • She said to me, 'Go for help for God's sake'.
  • I went downstairs.

He said that between her sobs that he asked her if she would identify or know the man again and said that she replied, 'There are different men at night'. He said that he asked her if she saw the man and said that she replied, 'I could not see him properly, he was behind the door, he was wearing sandals'.

The detective said that when the French woman's husband came home that she became more hysterical, but that he was able to ask her husband to question her and said that when he did so he got pretty much the same answers that he got when he questioned her, noting that she replied to her husband partly in French and partly in English. However, he added that she also said, 'The man was hitting Mrs Grace, he hit me'.

The detective said that he had occasion to speak to the French woman again at about 6.30pm whilst he was questioning Emma Grace's daughter and said that the French woman said, 'It might be the insurance man', also mentioning a brown suit.

When the French woman was later questioned that evening at about 7.50pm when she was less hysterical and more calmed down and asked to give a description of the man that she had seen she described him as follows:

  • Age: 40.
  • Height: 5ft 6in. (she indicated the height of the man by pointing to her husband who was standing nearby)
  • Face: Broad nose and very good teeth.
  • Hair: Fair, noting that you could see his skin when he bent his head down.
  • Clothing: Blue suit, bloodstained, respectable appearance, shoes or sandals, brown and white.

The detective said that the French woman told him that the man would have attracted attention when he left the house as his suit was bloodstained.

Emma Grace's 19-year-old daughter, who was a student nurse at the Fazakerkey Sanatorium said that she had lived at 110 Irlam Road with her mother and two other sisters aged 17 and 12. She said that 110 Irlam road was divided into flats and that Emma Grace occupied the upper rooms and that the French woman occupied the ground floor. She said that there was a bathroom at the top flight of stairs and also a small bedroom which belonged to the French woman, but was not used. She said that the water was heated from the French woman's fireplace in her kitchen and that she and her family, including Emma Grace, did not use the bathroom except for the lavatory there.

She said that in their living room there was a gas cooker and that when they wanted hot water they heated it on the cooker in buckets.

She said that Emma Grace had been separated from her husband for 16 years. She said that Emma Grace had been 38 years old when she died and that at that time had been working in Littlewood's Stationery Stores. She said that she and her sisters returned home each evening and that the times that she returned home varied according to the hours that she worked. She said that her sister also returned home at various times because she was on shift work and said that her younger sister would return home sometime between 4.30pm and 5pm.

She said that they all slept in the same bedroom and shared two beds with Emma Grace sharing the bed with her youngest daughter and herself sharing with the 17-year-old daughter.

The daughter noted that as well as the two rooms on the first floor that there were also two more rooms on the floor above but said that they were not used and that there was no furniture in them.

She said that on the morning of 25 May 1951 that she had gone out to work at 6.30am and that when she left Emma Grace had been in the house and that she was in good spirits and perfectly healthy. She said that she then returned that evening at about 6.45pm after being given a message by the matron and then went into the French woman's bedroom and then went into the living room and saw the police. She said that the French woman was hysterical and said to her, 'You're mum's face was terrible, the blood on her face was awful'.

She said that when she asked the French woman what had happened, the French woman said that Emma Grace had come home at about 4.30pm and that she had opened the door for her and that Emma Grace had then gone upstairs. She said that about five minutes after that that there was a knock at the door, but that Emma Grace shouted down, 'It's all right, it's for me'. She said that she then heard Emma Grace going upstairs with someone and that she went out into the back kitchen and that after a while she heard Emma Grace cry out and then heard a banging noise and said that she went to the bottom of the stairs and shouted out, 'Are you all right Mrs Grace?', but said that she got no answer and so she went upstairs. She said that she found that Emma Grace wasn't in the kitchen and so she went to the bathroom and saw that a man had hold of Emma Grace and said that Emma Grace said, 'Go and get some help for God's sake'. However, she said that the man then got hold of her by her arm and dragged her into the bathroom and that she started screaming and said that the man said to her, 'If you don't stop screaming, you'll never see your children alive'. She said that the French woman then told her that the man made her undo her blouse and told her that the man had been wearing a chocolate coloured suit with a loud tie and that he was going bald on top and that he had had white and brown shoes on. Emma Grace's daughter said that the French woman told her all that between sobs and at one time told her that the man had been behind the door and that she had not seen him behind the door until she had gone into the bathroom and had closed the door behind her. However, she said that the next time the French woman told her that she had seen the man holding Emma Grace and that the door had been open and that she then told her that she had got away from the man and had then gone for help

Emma Grace's daughter said that she paid her mother £8 monthly out of her wages and that her 17-year-old sister paid her £3 weekly. She said that Emma Grace was a person of regular habits and that she always put her handbag in between the wireless and the fireplace on a shelf by the window and that her purse was always in her handbag and that her money was kept in her purse.

She noted that the bedroom to the left of the bathroom was unfurnished and unoccupied and that they never used it.

She noted that the French woman never used their lavatory and said that she had had a bath once or twice.

A policewoman said that at about 10.45am on 26 May 1951 that she saw the French woman at the Central Police Station in Bootle and said that she was holding her head in her hands and that when she asked her if she had a headache and whether she would like an aspirin, she had said, 'No, but this lump at the side of my head hurts'. The policewoman said that the French woman then said, 'Feel these bumps at the back of my head', and said that when she felt the back of the French woman's head that she could feel two or three small swellings beneath her hair. She said that when she asked her how she got them, the French woman said, 'That's what the man done'. She said that the French woman then slipped her dress off of her left shoulder and showed her a bruise on the top of her shoulder near the top of her arm and then rolled up the left sleeve of her coat and showed her a number of scratches that were on the inside of her left forearm. The policewoman noted that the scratches looked fresh and that the French woman said that she felt sore all over.

The French woman later made a statement and gave the police samples of her hair.

When the police measured the dimensions of the bathroom they said that it was 6ft 9 1/2in by 5ft 1 1/2in and noted that the bath was of an old type with wooden sides, the length of which was itself 5ft 6in and the overall width 3ft 6in and the height from the floor to the top of the wooden edge being 25in and the overflow being 18in from the interior of the bottom of the bath.

The police said that the door to the bathroom was 27 3/4in wide and 6ft 3in tall and that it opened inwards to the left and had an outer lock box on the inside of the door and wooden handles.

It was noted that when the door was fully opened that at the bottom of the door to the panelled wall there was a gap of 2 1/2in and at the top above the wall panelling the gap was 3 1/2in. It was also noted that when fully opened, there was a gap of 31in between the door and the lavatory pan.

The window in the room was in the wall opposite the door and was of frosted glass that could not be seen clearly through and was 34in by 25in in size.

It was noted that during the police examination of the house that they found an old newspaper in the back bedroom on the first floor that had been hidden under the fire grate that contained £6 5s 11d. It was carefully wrapped in the newspaper and stuffed between the bottom of the fire bars and the bottom of the grate and was as far back as it could be put. The police said that the £1 notes were folded together and that a 10/- note was partly wrapped round three £1 notes and a ten shilling note. The police said that the coins were in between the paper money and that the newspaper contained a complete crossword puzzle bearing the name of the French woman with the prefix Mr and dated 23 July 1950.

When the woman was questioned about the money, she said, 'I not seen this before except it is from my purse. I don't do crosswords but my husband does'.

When the doctor carried out the post mortem he stated that Emma Grace was about 5ft 4in tall and weighed 7 stone and 12lbs. He said that he found a large bruise around each eye and another large bruise on her chin. He said that her tongue was protruding through her gums and that her denture was missing. He said that there were petechial haemorrhages on each eye and on the mucus membrane of her mouth. The doctor said that when he referred to petechial haemorrhages, that he meant small ruptures of the blood vessels beneath the surface of her eyes.

He noted that the bruises around her eyes, or black eyes, might have been caused with little force.

The doctor said that upon internal examination he found a considerably bruised area over the right side of her scalp and a small bruised area on the left side of her scalp. He added that there were also numerous small abrasions over the front part of her neck and that they were in his opinion caused by the pressure of fingernails.

He said that Emma Grace's lungs were dilated and contained water and blood and said that there was a small amount of froth in her throat.

He gave her cause of death as being due to drowning saying that she was either unconscious or partly conscious before the drowning occurred and noted that her head injuries could have caused unconsciousness or partial consciousness.

The doctor said that he also examined the French woman and said that he found that she had a bruise above the outer side of her right eye on the temple which was recent and several scratch marks on her face and that to the outer side of her left eye there was a mark about an inch in length. He described the injuries as superficial and said that they could have been caused by fingernails. He said that she also had three smaller abrasions on her left cheek below the eye and one below her right eye as well as some older healed abrasions on her forearm. He noted that she also had a recent abrasion on the inner side of her left arm. He said that when he examined her fingernails, he found that they were short and irregular but said that they could have caused scratching.

The doctor said that when he asked the French woman how she received her injuries she said that she received them from him.

The doctor said that when he asked the French woman why she had no shoes on he said that she told him that she had left them upstairs.

A staff chemist said that when he went to the bathroom to carry out forensic tests he found that there were hairs on the bath taps and in Emma Grace's right hand as well as hair on the bath plug and on the side of the bath.

The staff chemist said that he also carried out tests for blood and said that he was able to group the French woman's blood as type AB and Emma Grace's blood as type A. He said that wiping’s from the bath taps tested positive for blood but said that he was unable to say whether it was human. He also said that he had examined the shoes for blood and found that the right shoe tested positive for blood. He said that he also found blood on the Linoleum that tested positive for blood type A as well as blood on the lavatory seat which was also blood group A.

The staff chemist added that the amount of hair that he found on the French woman's clothes as well as in the bathroom was unusually large.

However, he said that after he examined the French woman's hair and compared it to other hairs that he found in the bathroom and on Emma Grace, he found that none of her hairs matched.

At the trial at the Manchester Assizes on 12 July 1951 it was claimed that the French woman had had an argument with Emma Grace and had drowned her and then made up the story about the man with the gun being in the bathroom.

When the French woman was asked whether she murdered Emma Grace she broke down and cried, 'No! Never!' and then sobbed bitterly causing the judge to adjourn the hearing for five minutes to allow her to recover.

The defence claimed that when the French woman entered the bathroom that the murderer, who had been hiding behind the door, instead of allowing her to go for help, kept her there whilst he murdered Emma Grace.

However, the prosecution said that it was not the French woman's eyes that witnessed the crime, but her hands that committed it.

Although it was claimed that the French woman and Emma Grace had had a quarrel that resulted in Emma Grace's death, it was also said that there was no evidence of ill-feeling between the two woman and no known reason why they should quarrel.

Although it was claimed by the prosecution that the motive was robbery, it was noted that the French woman had had £6 in her purse at the time and that she was getting £8 or £9 each week from her husband and had no need for money.

The defence suggested that the reason that Emma Grace might have ben murdered was because her visitor had gone there for some money but that Emma Grace had hidden the money and when the man didn't get it that he murdered her.

The French woman at the trial noted that Emma Grace had a number of men visitors and that she knew none of them and added that the two elder daughters also had men visitors.

The French woman said at the trial that when the man grabbed her in the bathroom that he then grabbed hold of Emma Grace and pushed her down and said that when she started to scream he told her to keep quiet. He said that the man said, ''Keep quiet! I am not going to harm you'. She said that he lifted Emma Grace into the bath like a doll and then afterwards fled.

The jury spent three hours deliberating before acquitting the French woman.


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


see National Archives - ASSI 52/726, ASSI 86/64, DPP 2/2080

see Liverpool Echo - Saturday 26 May 1951

see Dundee Courier - Saturday 14 July 1951

see Newcastle Journal - Saturday 14 July 1951

see Coventry Evening Telegraph - Saturday 26 May 1951

see Portsmouth Evening News - Thursday 12 July 1951

see Aberdeen Evening Express - Thursday 12 July 1951