Unsolved Murders

Luisa Gates

Age: 30

Sex: female

Date: 12 Aug 1918

Place: Madmans Wood, Sunningdale

Luisa Gates was found dead in Madman's Wood, Sunningdale.

It was thought that she had been there for 6-8 weeks and her body was in an advanced state of decomposition.

A tightly rolled handkerchief had been forced into her mouth and the collar of her mackintosh was fastened very tightly round her throat.

She had been well dressed, wearing a white dress trimmed with lace, a blue underskirt and white gloves. She had also been wearing two gold broaches set with stones and her hat and umbrella were found nearby.

It was noted that in the time that she had been laying there, the growth of vegetation and rain had removed any traces there may have been of a struggle.

At the inquest the doctor stated that her body was too decomposed to determine a cause of death

A Canadian soldier said that he had made an appointment with Luisa Gates to meet in Sunningdale but that she failed to meet him and that he never saw her again. He said that he had written her a latter about seeing her on the Sunday in Sunningdale and said that he went to meet her but did not see her and after went back to camp and had no letters from her since.

A woman that Luisa Gates had lodged with on Elizabeth Street said that Luisa Gates had left to go to Sunningdale on 12 August 1918 but had never returned. The woman later identified Luisa Gates's broach and a string of pearls that had been found on her body.

She had lived on Elizabeth Street in Walworth and was separated from her husband who was a Private and at the time at home from France. The husband said that they had been on good terms and that she had a weekly income of £4 including her separation money.

She was found in Madman's Wood which was on the Charter's Estate off of the Gravel Hill Road in Sunningdale, Ascot about 400 yards from the main London to Portsmouth road although there was another road that was little used about 90 feet from the spot where her body was found.

The coroner's jury also heard that Luisa Gates had been to Sunningdale before for a weeks holiday.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Lancashire Evening Post - Tuesday 08 October 1918

see Gloucestershire Echo - Wednesday 25 September 1918

see Reading Mercury - Saturday 28 September 1918