Unsolved Murders

Mary Kate Waknell

Age: 44

Sex: female

Date: 13 May 1900

Place: 44 Water Lane, Brixton

Mary Waknell was found dead at her basement flat at 44 Water Lane, Brixton.

She was found dead in the morning by her son. She had been stabbed in the breast, back and abdomen and had a large pair of scissors left embedded in her heart.

She had been living apart from her husband for 9 months and with her 16 year old son from a former marriage at the house in Water Lane which was a thoroughfare close to the main Brixton Road. The house was occupied by several families and was set back from the road and approached by a long forecourt. She lived with her son in a basement flat that had its own separate entrance.

Mary Waknell was last seen going out at 11pm and returning around 12 midnight and was believed to have been alone. None of the neighbours or her son heard anything unusual before she was discovered in the morning by her son.

There were no signs of a struggle in the room and the front door had been left open. The scissors which were exceptionally sharp were her own and used in her trade as a mantle maker.

A medical man who examined her body said that it would have been impossible for the wounds to have been self-inflicted.

Newspaper reports state that she did a little work as a mantle maker but that she kept late hours.

She had had some money on her on the Friday night but when her room and pockets were searched nothing could be found.

It was said that she was rendered unconscious before she could raise the alarm because neither her son who slept in the next room or the neighbours heard anything.

Suspicion fell on her husband as when they had lived together they were unhappy and the police were required to come out on more than one occasion and he had been in court before for assaulting and threatening her. The police searched for him to account for his time between 11pm and 8am the following Saturday morning but he could not be found. He was said to live in Camberwell.

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

see www.murderresearch.com

see Illustrated Police News - Saturday 19 May 1900

see Leicester Chronicle - Saturday 19 May 1900

see London Evening Standard - Monday 14 May 1900

see Casebook

see Murder Houses Of South London by Jan Bondeson