Unsolved Murders

John Frederick Boucher

Age: 45

Sex: male

Date: 30 Mar 1957

Place: River Hull, Hull

John Frederick Boucher died after falling into the docks at Hull. He was found in the River Hull on 30 March 1958.

A 27-year-old man was put on trial after confessing to pushing him in but was found unfit to plead and sent to Broadmoor but when he was later found fit to plead he changed his story and said what he had originally said and that was that John Boucher slipped and he was discharged.

However, he later made a detailed confession that was investigated by Empire News but no further action was taken.

The man was later arrested for stealing an axe which he said he had stolen so he could chop the head of a child off.

John Boucher had been staying at the Salvation Army Hostel in Hull at the time.

The man had been tried for John Boucher's murder at the York Assizes on 17 June 1957 but the judge that heard the case directed that he should be detained as a patient at Broadmoor and when he was later released he changed his story.

A verdict of accidental death had initially been returned at John Boucher's inquest but the man later started to make statements saying that he had pushed John Boucher into the river and so he was arrested.

However, when he later gave evidence in November 1958 after being released from Broadmoor he said that he had nothing to do with his death. Additionally he said that he didn't remember being in Broadmoor and that that he could not remember making his earlier statements saying that he had pushed John Boucher into the river, but said that he was now as sensible as anyone.

He said that John Boucher had jumped onto a barge, hit a rope, and had gone backwards into the water and didn't reappear.

A doctor from Armley prison said that the man was a different person when he had come back from Broadmoor on 20 October 1957 from when he had been when he had gone in on 20 June 1957, adding that he could not now be considered to be anything other than sane.

However, in July 1960, whilst the man was living at 61 Greenwood Avenue in Hull, he was convicted at the Hunts Quarter Sessions of breaking and entering a house in Warmington and stealing a double barrelled gun, two cartridges, a bread saw, a bottle of lemon juice and 80 cigarettes. The items were declared to have the value of £11 11s 1d and he pleaded guilty.

On that occasion he was described as a rolling stone that wandered about the country as well as a malingerer. It was said that he had wandered further than usual and gone along the Great North Road and then decided to break into the house in Warmington, getting in through a window that he broke and to have then stolen the items.

At the Hunts Quarter Sessions the prosecutor noted, 'For some reason, the fact that he had taken the gun seemed to have worried him'. He had then later gone to Warmington Police House and beckoned a policeman to come outside and then handed him the gun, saying, 'I don't want to kill anyone with this. I have just broken into a house down the road'.

It was noted that the gun was loaded and cocked.

He also admitted stealing a pair of boots from a place near Hastings and a cycle in Luton. Those offences, stealing the boots on 17 May 1957, and the cycle, worth £6, from a school near Luton on 19 May 1957 were taken into consideration.

He had been unemployed at the time.

A list of his previous convictions were read out, which started from when he was 13-years-old, which included:

  • Theft.
  • Taking and driving away a car.
  • Shop-breaking.
  • Unlawful wounding.
  • Stealing a motor-cycle.

His April 1958 murder charge was also noted along with the details of his time in Broadmoor and after the evidence was heard, the Chairman said, 'I do not like the look of this case, and in view of his mental record it may be dangerous for him to be at large, and there he was with this gun. I do not feel like passing sentence'. The man was then remanded in custody for sentencing at the next Quarter Sessions by which time it was said a medical report would be available.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see A Calendar Of Murder, Criminal Homicide In England Since 1957, Terence Morris and Louis Blom-Cooper

see Birmingham Daily Post - Tuesday 11 November 1958

see Halifax Evening Courier - Tuesday 21 October 1958

see Liverpool Echo - Tuesday 21 October 1958

see Birmingham Daily Post - Tuesday 21 October 1958

see Peterborough Standard - Friday 08 July 1960