Unsolved Murders

Lillie Yolande Marie Rochaid

Age: 18

Sex: female

Date: 20 Jan 1906

Place: Crick Tunnel, Kilsby

Lillie Yolande Marie Rochaid was found dead in the Crick Tunnel on the London and North-Western Railway line between Northampton and Rugby.

She was the daughter of a French count.

Her body was found in the middle of the tunnel by a foreman platelayer at 5.20pm on the Thursday after he and another man were instructed to search the line after the inspector had found a second-class compartment door open in which he saw a box and a small black bag with a newspaper by its side.

At her inquest, a juror asked whether it would have been possible for her murderer to have got off of the train at Rugby without being observed and he was told, 'Yes'.

The Northampton station master said that when the train left Northampton he observed that all the doors were shut.

It was thought by some newspapers that the circumstances negated the theory of suicide or accident and supported the theory that she had either been thrown out or had flung herself out after being terrorised by the approaches of an intruder.

Detectives stated that there was no known motive for suicide.

They also stated that three articles of jewellery which she wore when she left home at Dinard were missing when she was found. Her jewellery included a bracelet and a small silver medal that she had worn on a long gold chain. Other items she had had with her included a gold watch and chain, a gold chain with a crucifix, a ring, a purse with £1 10s in gold, 9s 10d in silver, some copper money, two French coins, a bunch of keys and her railway tickets. At her inquest her father said that she had been wearing a fur coat when she had left although he said that he wasn’t sure and the Coroner told him that his suspicion could not be entered as evidence.

It was also noted that her hat was found near the entrance to the tunnel which was some distance away from her body. It was 30 yards from the entrance whilst her body was found 200 yards along the tunnel.

The police also noted that it was improbable that the handle of the carriage door had been opened accidently. However, it was said that the door could have been opened from the inside without opening the window and that the door opposite the open door was shut but not locked. Further, at the inquest, the Coroner was told in answer to a question that if Lillie Rochaid had opened the door she would have had a great deal of difficulty in closing it and might have been pulled out in trying.

The police said that there were other mysterious features to the case such as the cab man that had driven her from Waterloo Station to Euston not being found nor the woman, who was presumed to be French, that had had a long conversation with her at Euston come forward.

It was also noted that no one had been able to say whether Lillie Rochaid was alone or not in the carriage when she left Euston. Detectives said that they thought that her killer might have been hiding under the seat of the carriage or had got on board at one of the three stops between Euston and Rugby.

It was heard that a lady that had been travelling in the carriage next to Lillie Rochaid's had heard a scream just before the train entered the tunnel. It was thought that her murderer had approached her just as the train was entering the tunnel causing her to scream, and then attacked her.

When she had been at Euston Station she had sent a telegram at 12.25pm, although it had been mistakenly recorded as 12.20pm, which was written in her own handwriting which was bold and firm and without the slightest sign of agitation. The telegram indicated that she was going to take the 2.45pm train. That surprised her friends who thought that she would have taken the 2pm train because, although it did not catch a connection at Rugby for Marton, the station for Princethorpe, she would have met at Rugby some companions with whom she could have spent the waiting time.

Her autopsy revealed no signs of a struggle or any injury other than those sustained by her falling on the line and as far as could be determined she had not been molested or touched in any way.

When the tunnel was searched there were no marks on the walls. It was found that her body had fallen 190 yards into the tunnel as evidenced by stones that had been turned over to reveal their white underside against the soot black topsides of the track ballast. It was also shown that she had then been dragged along 30 yards after the fall.

She had been wearing a black skirt, a muslin blouse and jacket.

The jury returned a verdict that Lillie Rochaid was found dead on the railway.

She had just returned from France where she had been spending her Christmas holidays.

Her father described her as a good girl that had never known anything other than a convent life.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Northampton Mercury - Friday 26 January 1906

see Pall Mall Gazette - Saturday 27 January 1906

see The Tatler - Wednesday 07 February 1906

see Sheffield Daily Telegraph - Friday 26 January 1906

see Shepton Mallet Journal - Friday 02 February 1906

see Politics Of Phobia