Unsolved Murders

Shinichi Moriya

Age: unknown

Sex: male

Date: 27 Nov 1929

Place: River Test, Redbridge, Southampton

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Shinichi Moriya was found dead in the River Test. He was thought to have had £400 on him before he died.

He was Japanese and had been a first class passenger on the White Star liner Majestic, which had just arrived in Southampton from New York on the Friday 22 November 1929.

His body was found in the River Test on 27 November 1929.

Amongst his papers there was a draft note for $470 and an endorsement on the draft showed that £400 had been drawn on it on the Monday at a London bank. However, when his body was found floating in the water two days later he only had a small amount of English currency on him along with some Japanese currency.

No signs of violence were found on his body and the caused of death was given as drowning.

He was thought to have come to England as a representative of the Mitsubiski Shipbuilding Co..

Police were looking for two Japanese men and a woman that he had been seen with at Southampton West Station on the day before he died with a third Japanese man that was thought to have been Shinichi Moriya. The two the men and the women were believed to have taken the 8.46pm train from Southampton to Waterloo. It was said that the Portsmouth woman left the train at Winchester. One of the three men seen on the platform was described as being unusually tall and thick set for a Japanese man and that he had heavy features and a big head. He was said to have had a platform ticket whilst the other two men had tickets for Waterloo.

At his cremation at Golders Green Crematorium an English woman was seen sitting in a back pew. When questioned she said that she didn't know Shinichi Moriya and said that she had just come along to see what a Japanese funeral was like. She was also identified as the landlady of a Japanese member of a shipping company. One of the ticket collectors that had seen the three Japanese men and the woman at Southampton West Station also went to the funeral and said that he identified Shinichi Moriya as the tall well-built man that he had seen earlier at the station.

A grey felt hat with the name of a New York firm of outfitters was found in a timber yard close to where his body was found but it was not known whether it belonged to him.

There were nine Japanese passengers on the Majestic ship that Shinichi Moriya had arrived on.

In his pockets police found a souvenir knife from the SS Majestic.

A taxi-driver said that on the 24 November at 12.45pm, Sunday afternoon, he had picked up three men and a woman from the Clapham area to the West End and noticed that the man who paid him was Japanese but said that he had not taken particular notice of the other passengers.

His organs were analysed at St. Mary's Hospital in London and it was stated that there were several very puzzling features that strengthened the belief that he had been the victim of foul play.

The Coroner stated that the circumstances were equally consistent with accident, suicide and homicide.

An open verdict was returned.


see Leeds Mercury - Saturday 30 November 1929

see Aberdeen Press and Journal - Friday 29 November 1929

see Leeds Mercury - Wednesday 04 December 1929

see Dundee Evening Telegraph - Monday 02 December 1929

see Northern Whig - Friday 29 November 1929

see Aberdeen Press and Journal - Thursday 05 December 1929

see Lancashire Evening Post - Wednesday 04 December 1929