Unsolved Murders

Sheila Fox

Age: 6

Sex: female

Date: 18 Aug 1944

Place: Barton Road, Bolton

Sheila Fox went missing after leaving school to walk home on 18 August 1944.

She had lived in Macdonald Avenue in Farnworth near Bolton. Sheila Fox was also known in the press as 'The Girl in the Green Mac'.

She was the youngest of five children. Her father was a collier.

When she was last seen she had been wearing blue-flowered frock, a green coat, brown stockings and black shoes. She had fair hair that she had tied up with a ribbon.

She had left school in Farnworth at 4pm on 18 August 1944 and was last seen by some friends shortly after. It was thought that she had been going home after she had left school.

Playmates of Sheila Fox said that they last saw her riding on the crossbar of a bicycle with a man and said that she told them, 'I am going with him'.

After she went missing the police and neighbours made a search of air-raid shelters, disused pit shafts, sump holes, out buildings, hedgerows, waterways, mill lodges and fields, but found no trace of her. Bloodhounds were also used in the search for her. On 16 October 1944 it was reported that a pond at Greenfold Farm off Spar Road in Farnworth, about a mile away from where Sheila Fox lived, was pumped dry by the NFS in a search for her body. The NFS had had two pumps working to drain the pond for two days during the operation. However, nothing was found.

The police said that they wanted to question a man that had been seen riding off towards Leigh along New Brook Road in Atherton with a girl on his handlebars between 4pm and 4.30pm on the day that Sheila Fox vanished. The man had earlier been seen in the vicinity of Atherton Parish Church.

The police also said that they were looking to identify a woman who had a cultured voice who had called the police at Ashton-in-Makerfield from a kiosk at 6pm on Wednesday 11 October 1944 who had stated that she had seen a girl answering Sheila Fox's description riding on the crossbar of a man's cycle along the East Lancashire Road.

The man that Sheila Fox had last been seen with was described as being aged between 25 to 30, with a slim build, clean-shaven and well-dressed with a navy-blue suit and a blue and red tie.

A number of men were seen riding bicycles around with children on the hanlebars at the time, but all the of them other than the man seen in Atherton were accounted for during the police investigation.

It was thought that Sheila Fox had known the man that she had gone off with as she was otherwise very shy and would only have gone off with someone that she was comfortable with.

In 2001, following a tip, the garden of a sex-offender in Barton Road was dug up in a search for Sheila Fox's remains. It was said that a man, who had been 13 years old  at the time, had seen the suspect digging a large hole in his garden late at night around the time of the murder and that he had always suspected foul play. The man that had been seen digging the hole moved out of the house in 1948 and was later convicted of a rape in 1950, six years after Sheila Fox was last seen, and in 1965 was convicted of the sexual assault of a child. At the time of the excavation, the man was dead having died of a brain tumour in 1989, and the man that was living in the house had only been there for nine years.

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

see www.dailymail.co.uk

see Manchester Evening News - Tuesday 12 September 1944

see Manchester Evening News - Wednesday 23 August 1944

see Manchester Evening News - Tuesday 03 October 1944

see Manchester Evening News - Wednesday 06 September 1944

see Manchester Evening News - Monday 21 August 1944

see The Gaurdian

see BBC

see The Telegraph

see Where Are They

see Wikipedia