Unsolved Murders

Abigail Whalley

Age: 85

Sex: female

Date: 11 May 1931

Place: Robins Lane, Carleton, Blackpool

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Abigail Whalley was killed in her bungalow in Carleton, Blackpool.

She was found dead by the side of her bed in her night clothes with an injury to the left side of her head. Her neighbour said that she would always watch Abigail Whalley's windows to see if she was alright because she was an old woman and they were very friendly.

A neighbour said that she was going on holiday and said that Abigail Whalley said to her 'Good-bye. I may not see you again' and for that reason she took particular notice of the house on the morning she was to go because she wanted, if possible, to catch a glimpse of her before she went and wave her farewell. However, she said that she noticed that the blinds were not drawn back in her windows and that there was no smoke from the chimney. She said that she then went to see another neighbour and said that she feared something was wrong and they went together to her bungalow and tried the back door and windows but found that they were all fastened. She said that they then looked through the letter box and saw a box ripped open, an empty purse and a bundle of keys lying on the floor.

One of the women then went off for another neighbour and then the other woman that had gone to the bungalow said that she pushed the front door and found that it was open and then noticed that it had been forced.

It was thought that she had been hit about the head with the same instrument that had been used to force the door to her home open.

The police said that it seemed fairly clear that Abigail Whalley had been attacked by someone with an instrument although no trace of the instrument could be found. They said that an entrance had been forced through the front door and whilst it could not be ascertained what valuables, if any, had been taken, most of the places where valuables were likely to have been had been disturbed.

The police later said that they were following up reports about two visits by a mysterious motor car that drew up near Robins Lane in the early hours of the morning. It was said that the first time the car came was early on the Sunday morning, the day before she was found dead. It was said that when it drew up at the corner of Robins Lane the lights were switched off and what was thought to have been a man and a woman went up Robins Lane in the direction of Abigail Whalley's bungalow and returned to the car soon after and then drove away. It was then reported that in the early hours of Monday morning, just before dawn, the car returned to the same spot and once again the lights were switched off and the same couple got out and went towards the bungalow and that there was then silence except for the hooting of an owl. Then, not long after they had gone to the bungalow it was said that the man and woman returned to their car in great haste, jumped in, and after switching on the side lights, drove away in the direction of Blackpool at a great rate. It was said that the sound of the acceleration of the engine could distinctly be heard throughout the neighbourhood. The car was said to have been a two-seater.

A neighbour said that Abigail Whalley had not long before told her 'I have so much money I don't know what to do with it'. The neighbour also said that Abigail Whalley took no care over her appearance and frequently wore a man's pair of boots.

She was said to have been a woman of means. A neighbour said that Abigail Whalley was a well-educated woman and that it was thought that she used to have a school with her sister in Manchester.

Following her death, there was further alarm in the district when on 11 May 1931 another 80-year old woman who lived near Abigail Whalley was found dead in her bed but it was said that she had died from heart trouble.

It was noted in August 1931, three months after the murder, that holiday makers to Blackpool were still visiting the bungalow to see the place where the murder occurred. It was said that they were attempting to peer through the window into the tragic bedroom although it was noted that the bungalow had since been heavily curtained. It was said that the holiday makers would walk around the garden. At the time, the bungalow was up for sale and had had some offers, even from a retiring couple, but the sale had fallen through a few times for other reasons.

Abigail Whalley left an estate of the gross value £8,095 5s 1d with net personalty £7,632 7s 5d.. She had left money and her household and personal effects to her family, but had also left money to the following:

  • £200 to Manchester Infirmary.
  • £100 to the Crippled Children's Home, Urmston, Manchester.
  • £50 to Dr Barnardo's Homes.
  • £50 to the Ladies Sick Poor Association, Blackpool.
  • £50 to the Blind Asylum, Manchester.
  • £30 to the Wood Street Mission, Manchester, for poor children.
  • The residue of her property to St Marys Hospital for Women, Manchester.
  • She also appointed the remainder of the residuary estate of her late sister to the Bethesda Home for Crippled Children, Higher Broughton and the Rochdale Crippled Children's Union, in equal shares.

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

see Western Morning News - Tuesday 12 May 1931

see Lancashire Evening Post - Saturday 15 August 1931