Unsolved Murders

Reginald Francis Murrell

Age: 18

Sex: male

Date: 19 Mar 1927

Place: River Eye, Melton Mowbray

Reginald Francis Murrell was found dead in a river.

He had bruises on his head that could have been caused before he went into the river where he had drowned.

His father said that he had left his home on the Saturday at about 6.30pm and had seemed to have been in the best of spirits and health.

It was thought that he had later attended a picture house and then later a boy scouts' dance on North Street. He had left with a friend at about 9.40pm with whom he had walked to the top of Burton Street where they had stood talking for about ten minutes before saying goodnight and arranging to meet the following afternoon. The friend said that Reginald Murrell then went off down Burton Street towards his home.

He was last seen alive by a carpenter's apprentice at about 10.20pm walking slowly near the spot where his body was found. He said that he had asked Reginald Murrell where he was going and that Reginald Murrell had replied 'not far', and that he had then passed on.

Later at about 10.23pm a LMS signalman who was on duty in a signal box which overlooked the river said that he had heard a thud and a splash, however, he said that when he shone his light on the river to see what had happened he could not see anything amiss.

Reginald Murrell was found the next morning by a waggon-greaser who was leaving his work on the railway at about 7am. He said that Reginald Murrell was in the middle of the river face downwards with his arms outstretched partly on a small heap of sand and pebbles close to the foundation supports of the bridge.

The police were then called and they took out the body. His body was partly submerged and it was said that the marks on his head could have been caused from falling from the bridge which had a drop of thirty-five feet. There were no unusual markings on the bridge parapet.

A woman said that she had passed over the Burton Road bridge at about 10.20pm on the Saturday night and that as she was coming down the Ankle Hill she had met a man who was not sober. She said that shortly after she met another man just after passing the hospital gates who was worse than the other and said that he banged into her, however, she said that she didn't think that she would be able to recognise him again.

The post-mortem stated that Reginald Murrell's air passages in his lungs were full of water and that on his scalp there was bruising. The doctor said however, that if Reginald Murrell had fallen from the bridge he would have expected more injury.

An open verdict was returned with the Coroner saying that there was insufficient evidence to prove how he had got into the water. It stated that death was due to suffocation by drowning and that the injuries to his head would have been caused while he was alive and that they could have been sufficient to have caused temporary unconsciousness.

The father asked the doctor who had examined Reginald Murrell whether he thought that it was conceivable that Reginald Murrell could have received a blow and then afterwards been thrown over the bridge but the doctor said that that was a question that he didn't think he ought to answer.

Friends of Reginald Murrell said that they knew of no trouble that he might have been in.

He had lived in Woodlands Avenue.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Grantham Journal - Saturday 19 March 1927

see Nottingham Journal - Wednesday 16 March 1927

see Chelmsford Chronicle - Friday 02 September 1927