Unsolved Murders

Lillian Beatrice Earley

Age: 3

Sex: female

Date: 23 May 1907

Place: Goswell Place, Windsor

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Lillian Beatrice Earley was shot in Windsor while walking near her home.

It was thought that she was shot by a stray bullet although it would have been fired illegally.

She had gone into the street to play and a few moments later her mother heard a scream and rushed out into the street to find a neighbour lifting Lillian Earley from the ground with blood flowing from the side of her head.

She was taken to the hospital where her injury was treated on the supposition that it was a fracture. However, that was notwithstanding and there was a hole on the opposite side of her head as well. She lingered for 2-3 days and then died.

The post mortem revealed that the bullet hole had gone right through her brain and a search near the spot where she was shot revealed a flattened bullet adhering to a wall.

The police searched practically every house in Goswell Place and the shops in Peasgood Street the backs of which faced onto the place where Lily Earley lived.

One of the neighbours said that she remembered seeing a strange man walking around the streets with a revolver shortly beforehand.

At the coroners inquest it was stated that there was no doubt that the shot had been fired illegally and it was said that the case should stand as a warning to persons who in their enthusiasm for acquiring the art of shooting may be tempted to practice in dangerous proximity to dwellings.

The investigations looked at a number of nearby ranges but did not support the theory that the shot had come from one of three rifle ranges close by as one was underground, another pointed in the opposite direction and the third was behind a row of houses.

It was also noted that there was a gunsmiths testing range not far from where Lily Earley was shot but that it was proven that no shot had been fired from the range on that day and that it had also since been very properly closed and would not ever be used again. The gun factory allowed customers to try rifles in the rear of the premises and a large steel target was erected at the bottom of the garden although it was said that it was practically impossible for a shot to be fired from that point so that it would have struck the spot in the wall where the bullet had been found. However, a detective did say that it was possible to exactly see the spot where Lillian Earley was shot from the rear of the gunsmiths premises. A married woman who had formerly lived in the house that was then occupied by Lillian Earley said that rifles were often fired from the gunsmiths premises and that on one occasion a bullet had struck the top of a downstairs window and on another while she was standing in the doorway of the house a shot had struck the wall just over her head.

It was considered that it could well have been found that the shot was fired by a lad who had got hold of one of the miniature rifles which, in spite of legal restrictions, were still a little too easy for youngsters to obtain at that time.

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

see Derby Daily Telegraph - Saturday 18 May 1907

see Nottingham Evening Post - Thursday 23 May 1907

see North Devon Gazette - Tuesday 21 May 1907