Unsolved Murders

Mabel Madeline Martin

Age: 37

Sex: female

Date: 28 Nov 1951

Place: Seven Hills Road, Iver Heath, South Buckinghamshire

Source: discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Mabel Madeline Martin died after having an abortion and was dumped in a ditch.

Her cause of death was given as being shock due to instrumental abortion.

She had lived in Gordon House, Ealing.

Police reports indicate that the police were of the opinion that murder was committed.

Her body was found on the morning of Wednesday 28 November 1951 by a gardener who lived in Halls Cottages, Seven Hills Road in Iver Heath. He said that just before 7.45am on the Wednesday he had left his home for work on his bicycle and cycled along Seven Hills Road in the direction of Fulmer. He said that on reaching a sharp rise in the road he got off his cycle and walked up the rise and that when he reached the top he happened to glance across to his right and saw a light brown coat lying on the grass verge near some blackberry bushes. He said that he then went across to the coat and that as he did, he saw the body of a woman lying there in the ditch which was on the other side of where the coat was.

He said that she was lying almost straight along the bottom of the ditch, on her face, with her right arm stretched out in front on the far side bank and her feet on the bank on his side.

He said that she was bare from the waist down to her stockings, which were then down below her knees and that her knickers were over her feet.

He said that he thought that she must have been dead and so he stopped a motor cyclist and asked him to telephone the police and whilst the motorcyclist did so that he waited by her body.

He said that at the time that he saw her body that there wasn't any traffic about or any person in the road.

He added that he lived about 100 yards from where Mabel Martin was found and didn't see or hear anything out of the ordinary during the night before.

The police were called out at about 8am and went to the spot in Seven Hills Road, Iver Heath, about 10 yards south of Blanchards Farm gate where they found Mabel Martin's body lying in the ditch bottom with her right arm outstretched on to the far bank of the ditch and the top of her head also on the bank. They said that her feet were resting on the bank on the west side. Her clothing consisted of a white silk blouse which was covering only her shoulders which had long sleeves that were buttoned at the wrist, a white woollen vest that covered down to her waist, a pair of nylon stockings that were pulled down below her knees and a pair of pink silk knickers which were lying over her feet, one foot in each of the knickers. Her skirt, shoes and hat were all missing.

On the west bank, among some blackberry bushes growing there, there was a light brown long coat lying in a heap as though thrown there, about a yard from her feet.

From her general appearance it looked as though she was dead.

It was noted that the place where her body was found was generally undisturbed with the exception of some marks among the blackberry bushes where her body had passed through on its way to where it was found lying.

The police that first saw her body stated that in view of the circumstances that it appeared that the woman had not died naturally and so they guard the scene whilst their superior officers were communicated with.

It was also noted that when her body was first found, the police thought that she had been raped and murdered and then dumped in the ditch partially naked.

The post mortem on her body was carried out on 28 November 1951 at 4.30pm at Slough Public Mortuary after the pathologist paid a visit to the scene of the discovery at Seven Hills Road at 2.30pm.

The pathologist noted that Mabel Martin's body was in the grass verge on the north side of the Seven Hills Road lying face down in the brambles in the ditch about 12 feet from the road with her right arm stretched out on to the bank and her left arm bent across under her face. Her trunk and legs were straight, and her ankles were held close together by her knickers which were drawn down to her feet. The pathologist said that her clothing consisted only of a white blouse drawn up to her left shoulder, white vest which was undisturbed and silk stockings which were drawn down on the left leg to just below the knee and on the right leg to her ankle.

The pathologist noted that there was a little dirtying of the prominences of her heels and buttocks with her buttocks bearing some letter print which was later removed for photography.

The pathologist also said that certain hairs were removed from her clothing, labelled and handed to the police.

The pathologist said that there was no disturbance of the ground in the vicinity of the body and that no further articles of clothing lay nearby. He said that the appearance was that of a mere 'dumping' of a still body, noting that the absence of vital reaction to the many bramble scratches on her face, hips and thighs supported the view that she must have been dead before her body came to lie in the position where it was found.

The pathologist said that the fall in body temperature to 60F, the full development of rigor mortis and the pronounced livid staining were consistent with death having taken place some 18 to 24 hours previously. He noted that his estimate would to some extent be affected by any unknown length of time that the body might have lain indoors or covered in a warmer place before it was disposed of.

The pathologist stated that his examination of Mabel Martin showed that she had been a healthy person at the time of her death, saying that she was well developed, 5ft 0in tall, and that a 5 to 5 1/2 month male pregnancy was present and that fresh instrumental interference had occurred, death ensuing during the course of the operation.

He said that there was slight chafing of the entrance to her vagina, but that there were no marks of further, deeper, instrumental activity although he found that a thick white soap solution had freshly been injected through the neck of the womb into its interior separating the sack of the pregnancy from the wall and so 'starting' an abortion.

He said that death had taken place from shock due to the irritant chemical effect of the injection of soap.

The pathologist said that her thigh fronts bore a number of small scratches, consistent with the impressions of nails, four on her right side, within five inches of her inner groin, and two on her left side, within three inches of her inner groin. He said that there was also a seventh scratch on the prominence of her vulva.

He added that there was slight bruising present around the margin of the entrance to her back passage.

The pathologists report also noted, for police information only, the following:

  1. Death from shock during the course of an instrumental interference is sudden and unexpected. No warning signs or symptoms are likely.
  2. The entry made into the narrow cervix, neck, of the womb was so clean that a degree of skill and some knowledge of the anatomy of the parts was implied.
  3. The inference to be drawn from (2) is that at least one, probably two other persons were concerned, one possibly pinning on the thighs (causing the nail scratches) whilst the other made the injection.
  4. No revival would be likely and the dumping of the body (which may have lain face up during transport on the buttock and heels) would, therefore, consist of the dumping of a dead body. The bramble tears of the cuts were not accompanied by any vital reaction, though dribbling scanty blood.
  5. Though hair may have clung to the clothing of any person lifting or dumping deceased it is highly unlikely that any blood stains or other foreign matter would be present.

The report on the examination of the materials received on 30 November from New Scotland Yard in connection with the death of Mabel Martin stated:

  1. Hair from the front of neck of blouse: This is a dog hair.
  2. Hair lying in middle of small of back outside of vest and two hairs outside vest right shoulder: One hair is a dog hair and the other two hairs are human head hairs similar to the sample of head hair labelled as taken from Martin.
  3. Short hair on back of right shoulder of blouse: This is a dog hair.
  4. Two hairs about 2 inches to left of anus: One of these hairs is a dog hair and the other hair a body hair similar to the sample of pubic hair taken from Martin.
  5. Tiny hair about 1 inch to right of anus: This is a vegetable fibre.
  6. Nail scraping 1: No blood was found and no hairs or fibres of significance.
  7. Nail scraping 2: No blood was found and no hairs or fibres of significance.
  8. Control Sample.
  9. Control Sample.
  10. Sample from uterus: This consists of a soap solution containing a coal tar disinfectant of the Lysol type.
  11. Anal Swab: No semen was found.
  12. Vaginal swab: No semen was found.
  13. Second vaginal swab: A soap solution is present on this swab.
  14. Blood from foetus: It was not possible to determine the group of this blood.
  15. Blood from the heart of Martin: It was not possible to determine the group of this blood. The condition of the blood is consistent with the presence of soap.
  16. Gastric contents: A trace of alcohol is present. The volume of the contents indicates that no food was taken less than three hours prior to death.
  17. Back flesh with anus from Martin: Black markings are present. The piece of flesh has been preserved in formalin.
  18. Left stocking: Human blood is present together with fragments of vegetation and the stocking is torn.
  19. Right stocking: Fragments of vegetation are present and the stocking is torn.
  20. Blouse: The blouse bears human blood and fragments of vegetation are present.
  21. Vest: Human bloodstains are present together with faecal stain. Fragments of vegetation are also present.
  22. Pillbox: This box was empty apart from traces of a pink powder insufficient in amount to be identified.
  23. Pillbox containing pills: The box contains iron tonic tablets resembling one proprietary tablet known as 'Fersolate'.
  24. No article so numbered was found.
  25. Pair of knickers: Faecal stains are present and fragments of vegetation. There is a cleanly cut hole on the right front.
  26. Coat: Fragments of vegetation are present.

When the police spoke to various people, they spoke to the proprietor of a motor car hire service operating from St Benedicts Park Spring in Iver Heath, who said that on Tuesday 27 November 1951, at about 10.50pm, that he had been driving one of his cars along Sevenhills Road from Southlands Road towards Alderbourne Lane when he saw a black highly-polished Daimler saloon motor car that he thought was about 15 years old, parked on the south side of the road between the field where the caravans were and the entrance to Reid's Farm.

He said that the car was backed into the entrance to the field and the front of the car was facing the road. He said that he noticed the radiator and was certain that it was a Daimler. He added that there had been no lights on the car and that he didn't see anybody with it. He also said that he didn't think that it was a Daimler Hire car and added that he saw nothing unusual about it.

He said that he also saw a grey saloon motor car about 10hp, parked just off the road near a corrugated iron bungalow and then another car parked near the cross roads of Pinewood Road, Fulmer Common Road and Alderbourne Lane.

He noted that he had never seen a car like the Daimler he mentioned parked in Sevenhills Road on any previous occasion, noting that he frequently drove along that road during the evenings.

A woman that lived in Gordon House in London with her 11-year-old son said that in the autumn of 1949 that Mabel Martin came to live in a room at her flat and stayed until 27 November 1951.

She said that when she first came to her flat, she told her that she had been working at Ascots (Ascot Heaters Ltd) and said that she later found out that she had a man friend who also worked there. She said that the man would visit Mabel Martin once or twice a week at the flat and did so for several months until they had a serious row which she believed took place at Ascots and which caused her to stop working there. She said that she later learned that the man was married and that he owned Mabel Martin some money, saying that Mabel Martin later showed her an account that indicated that the man owed her about £20.

The woman said that Mabel Martin also gave her the names of two other men that she had known at some time and said that one of them had visited her room once or twice. She added that another man had telephoned her a number of times also.

She said that about six months earlier that Mabel Martin started bringing a rich man to her room who she described as being aged 55 to 60, about 5ft 6in tall, with a stout build, a florid complexion and grey hair and said that he had a large black Daimler car. She said that Mabel Martin had told her that she hoped to marry him. She said that the man had also told her that he was going to secure his life and provide her with a house or flat, give her money, a television, a wireless set and other things. She said that Mabel Martin showed her a camera, a red coat, a set of Festival of Britain coins, a number of pairs of Nylons, a double row of imitation pearls and other things that she said the man had given her.

She said that Mabel Martin had also told her that the man had given her a lot of money.

The woman said that shortly after Mabel Martin left Ascots that she went to work at Woolf's (Wolf Electric Tools Ltd) and that just over a year before, about 1950, that she started working at the Carnarvon Hotel during the evenings as a waitress. She said that Mabel Martin used to leave the flat to go to the Carnarvon Hotel at about 6.20pm each day but noted that she didn't usually work on Sunday evenings. She also noted that for the previous two or three months that she didn't work Tuesday evenings there either.

The woman said that when Mabel Martin first started to bring the rich man to her room she had told her that the man had been living at the Carnarvon Hotel and said that he visited her frequently and that for the previous two or three months that he had visited very frequently, almost every night, although she said that he never visited on Sundays. She said that the length of his visits varied between one or two hours but that occasionally he would stay for three of four hours, but if they were going out that he would stay for only a few minutes. She said that they usually spent the whole evenings together on the Tuesdays. She added that Mabel Martin had recently been taking the Thursday afternoons off work and had started meeting the man in her room and that she had brought them lunch there together two or three times. She also said that Mabel Martin would sometimes go out with the man in his car in the afternoons.

The woman said that about two or three months earlier Mabel Martin had told her that she had been sick in the mornings and that her stomach was swollen and that she shortly after began to think that she was pregnant although she said that Mabel Martin never told her that she was.

The woman said that one day towards the end of the previous week that Mabel Martin told her that the rich man had asked her to go away on holiday with him saying that he wanted her to go to Cornwall with him for a month. She said that he also wanted her to stop working at the Carnarvon Hotel and that he wanted her to go with him to the West End on Wednesday 28 November 1951 to buy some suitable clothes to wear at the hotel that they were going to stay in. However, the woman said that Mabel Martin seemed to be seeking her advice and said that she felt that she ought not to interfere in her private life, although did say that she did not think that she should give up her job at Woolf's.

The woman said that on the Sunday, 25 November 1951, that Mabel Martin told her that she had been to see her sister who lived nearby and that the next day, Monday, that she had some very important business in the West End to do for her mother an that if she did not finish it that day that she would have to deal with it on the Tuesday.

She said that on the Monday, 26 November 1951 that Mabel Martin didn't go to work at Woolf's, but said that she thought that she do go to work at the Carnarvon Hotel in the evening.

She said that on the Tuesday 27 November 1951 that Mabel Martin didn't go to work and that during the morning she went in and out of the flat a number of times and that she began to wonder whether she was preparing to give up her room in the flat.

She said that at 1pm when Mabel Martin was entering the flat that she invited her to have a cup of coffee and said that she joined her in the kitchen and had some coffee. She said that she asked her if she had had her lunch and said that Mabel Martin told her that she had not and that she was going to have lunch with the rich man at 2pm and declined the food that she had offered her.

She said that in the course of the conversation that Mabel Martin mentioned that she intended going back to Woolf's the following day, which she said contradicted what she had told her the previous day about going into the West End with the rich man to buy some clothes.

The woman said that shortly before 1.30pm that she left her in the kitchen after which she said she heard her going into her room and then go out of the flat. She noted that Mabel Martin did not mention anything about her mother's business or when she would return.

She said that she had not seen Mabel Martin since then.

She said that the rich man called at her flat later that evening at about 6pm, noting that her little boy had answered the door and said that she heard her son tell the rich man that Mabel Martin was not in. She said that she then went to the door and asked the rich man to come in and wait and said that he then went into Mabel Martin's room. She said that she had hardly closed the door of Mabel Martin's room when she heard the doors of the sideboard in there being opened followed by the sound of a drawer being opened. She said that her son then said to her, 'Mummy, he is going through Mis Martin's things'. She said that her son then left the flat and that she went into the kitchen where she stayed for a few minutes, but said that she was very much worried about the man being in Mabel Martin's room alone and so she went into the room and mentioned to the man that Mabel Martin was late and noted that it was getting late, it being about 6.20pm, and suggested that Mabel Martin might have gone directly to the Carnarvon Hotel after finishing work at Woolf's. However, she said that he pointed out to her that it was a Tuesday and that she would not be going to work at the hotel on a Tuesday.

She said that when she had gone into Mabel Martin's room, she had found the rich man sitting on a chair by the table reading a newspaper. She said that she left him in the room after he pointed out that it was a Tuesday, but said that a minute or two later the man came out to her room and told her that he was leaving, but before he left he asked her whether she knew where Mabel Martin was, which she said she thought was strange as Mabel Martin had told her that she was going to be meeting him. She said that she then told the rich man that she didn't know where Mabel Martin had gone. She said that he then asked her whether Mabel Martin was doing overtime at Woolf's which might have been the reason why she had not come home, but she said that she didn't know.

The woman said that the rich man then told her that he would telephone Mabel Martin later and then left the flat, the time then being shortly before 6.30pm.

She said that the rich man had been in her flat for about fifteen minutes and that she didn't offer him a cup of tea.

The woman said that the rich man called at about 8pm and asked where Mabel Martin was and said that she told him that she didn't. She said that nothing more was said which she said was unusual as on a great many occasions when he had previously telephoned for Mabel Martin, he had made more enquiries about her. She added that he didn't call again that evening which she said was also unusual as on previous occasion she said that he had telephoned persistently until Mabel Martin had returned.

The woman said that the rich man didn't call the following day, Wednesday 28 November 1951 and that she neither saw nor heard from him again.

The woman said that from the circumstances of the rich man's association with Mabel Martin, that she thought that he had been responsible for her pregnancy.

she said that when the rich man visited the flat on the Tuesday that she thought that he did so in order to take possession of something that he wanted.

She added that the fact that the rich man didn't telephone again for Mabel Martin after 8pm on the Tuesday was so unusual that she felt that he must have known where she was.

The woman said that during the Wednesday evening that she telephoned the Carnarvon Hotel and enquired about Mabel Martin and that when she learned that she had not been there to work that she again telephoned and asked for the rich man but was told that he was not known there.

She noted that during the time that Mabel Martin had lived at her flat that she had found her to be untruthful.

However, the police were able to trace the rich man and found that he was a company director that had lived in Haven Green Court in Ealing. He said that he had lived at Haven Court for the previous six months with his wife but that before that they had been living at the Carnarvon Hotel in Hanger Lane where he had got to know Mabel Martin who had been working there as a waitress.

He said that he first met her in September 1950 and became friendly with her in June or July 1951 but that he didn't go out with her until after he had left the Carnarvon Hotel, saying that he had seen her one evening as she was on her way home whilst driving his car up Hanger Lane and said that he stopped to give her a lift. He said that she got in and that they went to the Fox and Goose in Alperton and had a drink. He said that they stayed for about an hour after which he dropped her by the garage near her flat, but didn't go in. He said that he garaged his car near Hanger Lane and that he met Mabel Martin casually once or twice and that they had a drink and that he left her on the corner near to where she lived.

He said that they became friendly and that he used to visit her in her room, saying that he would see her two or three times a week at her flat for the purposes of taking her to the Carnarvon Hotel in his car, saying that he would spend some time with her nearly every Tuesday in her room, that being the evening that she didn't work at the hotel.

He said that he had sexual intercourse with her several times, always in her room, but said that the intercourse was never complete on account of his incapacity. He said that the last time he tried to have intercourse with her was about three weeks to a month earlier and added that he didn't know that she was pregnant.

The rich man said that on Sunday 25 November 1951 that he met Mabel Martin outside her flat at about 12 midday and that they went to Greenford and had a drink at a public house after which he took her back to Ealing Broadway where they arrived at about 1pm. He said that Mabel Martin had told him earlier that she was going to her sister's house but said that when they got to Ealing that she told him that she was going to have lunch at Paul's Restaurant in Ealing Broadway. He said that he asked her why she was not going to her sisters for lunch and said that Mabel Martin told him that she would go there afterwards.

He said that he met her again the following evening at about 8pm outside the Carnarvon Hotel and took her in his car to have a drink after which he took her to her flat which he later left at 10pm. He said that Mabel Martin had told him that she intended meeting her sister the following afternoon, from which he said he gathered that she was going to go to work in the morning and have the afternoon off and said that he arranged to meet her at 1.30pm in Acton opposite the police station on Tuesday 27 November 1951.

He said that he met her at the appointed time and took her in his car to a public house in Acton where she had two gin and tonics. He said that he noticed that she had an attache case with her that was almost white in colour and said that when he asked her why she was carrying the case that she told him that she was going shopping.

He said that he formed the impression that she was going to meet her sister and then do some shopping in town. He said that he then told her he was going to Pilot Radio in Acton and could not take her all the way to town, but offered to drop her off at the first tube station that they came to and said that they went off in his car and that he dropped her off at Shepherds Bush before they got to the Green where the railway ran overhead. He said that she then got out and said, 'I'll be back in time to see you at the flat', which he said he took to mean any time between six and seven that evening. He said that the time he left her in Shepherds Bush was sometime between 2pm and 2.30pm.

The rich man said that from there he went to the Pilot Radio Factory at Park Royal where he saw one of the managers and bought a small radio on behalf of his firm, Forster and Hales Ltd, 1A Clifton Road, Southall. He said that after leaving Pilot Radio at 4pm he went to Dome Garages in Great West Road, arriving at 4.30pm and picked up his spare wheel that he had left there for repair. He said that after picking up his spare wheel he went into the restaurant and had some tea and left at about 5pm.

He said that he then went to his lock-up garage at 10 Village Way in Hanger Lane and left the radio there and examined his car generally and then had a drink at a public house outside North Ealing Station to pass the time and then went to Mabel Martin's flat where he saw her landlady. He said that he found that Mabel Martin was not in and so went in to wait, saying that it was about 6.30pm at that time and that he waited in Mabel Martin's room sitting in a chair. He said that he read a newspaper and then left at about 6.55pm. He noted that whilst he was in Mabel Martin's room that her landlady came in and asked him whether he would like a cup of tea, but said that he said, 'No'. He said that when he left, he knocked on the landlady's door and told her that he was going but that he would come back.

The rich man said that he then went straight home, saying that his wife was at home, but said that he later left his flat again at about 7.30pm intending to go back to Mabel Martin's flat, but said that he went to Hanger Lane where he telephoned Mabel Martin's flat instead and spoke to the landlady who told him that Mabel Martin had still not returned. He said that he also asked the landlady whether Mabel Martin had telephone her, but said that she told him that she had not.

He said that he then went in his car to his Lodge of Instruction at the White Swan public house in Isleworth, arriving at 8pm and attended a meeting there which he said finished at about 9pm after which he went to the bar with several members and stayed until 10pm, noting that several members would be able to confirm that.

He said that he then left the public house at 10pm and drove his car to his garage and then went straight home, arriving at about 10.30pm.

He said that when he got home his wife was there and remarked to him that he was early. He said that they then went to bed at about 11pm and he stayed there all night.

He said that the following day he remained in his flat until about 9.30pm when he went to his garage an got his car out and drove to his place of business in Southall. He said that later that morning he had a few drinks with a man and then went home between 2.30pm and 3pm after which he remained in his flat for the rest of the day, except for about a quarter of an hour near 9pm when he drove his car, registration CJJ485, from the block of flats to the garage.

He noted that he did not attempt to get in touch with Mabel Martin.

The rich man said that during the evening he and his wife finally made up their minds to go away the following morning for a holiday but did not decide where to go. He said that they had been putting that decision off to take a holiday for the past two to three weeks, but said that at about 12 noon on 29 November 1951 that they loaded the car with luggage and were ready to go away. He said that his doctor had told him about three weeks earlier to take a holiday. He noted that the doctor also telephoned his wife at the same time to the same effect.

The rich man later gave a second statement stating that after he dropped Mabel Martin off at Shepherd's Bush between 2pm and 2.30pm on 27 November 1951 that he drove along Uxbridge Road to the traffic lights at Askew Road where he turned right and then drove off towards Western Avenue. He said that just round the corner from Uxbridge Road that he picked up a young woman who he had never seen before, describing her as being about 20, slightly taller than himself, with a medium build, possibly dark hair and who he said was good looking and made up. He noted that she was wearing a blue coat but was not certain as to whether she was wearing a hat or not. He added that she had been speaking with an accent which he thought was Welsh.

He said that as he went slowly around the corner there he saw her looking at him and so he pulled up and said that when she came over to his car he said, 'What are you doing this afternoon?' and said that she replied, 'Not much'. He said that he then asked her if she wanted to come for a cup of tea and said that she then got in his car beside him. He said that she then asked him where he was going and said that he told her that he had a few calls to make and that he then drove down the Western Avenue, turned left and drove to Pilot Radio at Park Royal and then pulled up outside, leaving the girl sitting in his car as he went in to collect the radio set. He said that after collecting the radio set at Pilot Radio that he drove straight to Dome Garages where he went into the office where he saw an elderly man about the spare wheel of his car, again leaving the girl sat in his car. He said that after he saw the elderly man about the spare wheel he returned to his car and saw that the girl was still sat there and that a mechanic then came to the car with the spare wheel.

The rich man said that a few minutes after he returned to his car that he took the woman into the cafe for a cup of tea. He said that they had tea and toast which was served by a waiter. He said that they sat about two tables from the entrance by the window noting that there were not too many people in there. He said that they remained there for about twenty minutes and that the bill then came which amounted to about two shillings. He said that the waiter gave him a ticket and that he paid for it at the cash desk. He said that he didn't give the waiter a tip because he had no change. He said that after having tea he then paid the garage bill of £4. 1s. 4d.

He said that after leaving the Dome Garages that he drove along the Great West Road and then turned left into Gunnersbury Avenue and then right at the first traffic lights in the road and then on as far as Uxbridge Road where he dropped the young woman off.

He said that before he dropped the young woman off that he remarked to her that he would be seeing her again.

When the police spoke to a receptionist at Pilot Radio in Park Royal Road, she said that between 2.30pm and 3.30pm one day early in the previous week, that a man called at their offices and spoke to her, asking to see a man there. She said that she later saw him leave again about a quarter of an hour later, saying that she saw him get into a medium sized old-fashioned black car. She noted that she also saw a woman sitting in the front passenger seat of the car with him, saying that she was about 30 years old, with medium brown hair that was curled up at the ends. She added that the woman had a brownish coloured coat, was possibly wearing a tartan scarf and had not been wearing a hat. She said that the car was facing away from Gypsey Corner. She said that she saw the man and the car from the window of her office that looked out from beside the front entrance of the garage.

She added that when the man had come into the front offices he had told her that he was from Forster & Hales. She described him as being aged between 50 and 60, about 5ft 7in tall, with a stout build, a florid complexion and a round face and said that he had been wearing horn-rimmed glasses, and noted that she would know him again.

A Buyer employed by Pilot Radio Ltd said that on Friday 23 November 1951 at about 1.30pm a man came to see him saying that he was from Forster and Hales to collect a 'Little Maestro' radio set that he had ordered by telephone. He said that the man stayed for about five minutes but said that he informed him that he could not have the set then.

The buyer said that the man called again on Tuesday 27 November 1951 at about 3pm for the radio which he then supplied him with, saying that it was a T66 model with the serial number 85838, noting that the man signed the second copy of the order when he received the set.

He said that the man was in his offices for about a quarter of an hour and said that he saw him go off into the entrance hall carrying the set which was contained in a carton. He noted that he had not seen the man before his first visit on Friday 23 November 1951.

A cost clerk and cashier at Dome Garages Ltd said that the rich man was a customer at the garage and that he owned a Daimler motor car. He said that on Tuesday 27 November 1951 that the rich man called at the garage to pick up a spare wheel that he had previously left for repair.  He said that he remembered him calling, and said that whilst the wheel was being fixed to the car that he saw him go into the restaurant there for tea, adding that when he came out the car was ready. He said that the man then paid his account of £4 1s. 6d. and left, and that he had given him a receipt, the number of which was 31108, which was the last receipt that he issued that day before they closed for business at about 5.45pm.

He said that the man had been in the garage and restaurant for about three quarters of an hour in total, having arrived at about 5pm, noting that it was getting dark.

A doctor from Ealing said that on Friday 23 November 1951 between about 6pm and 7pm that he received a telephone call from a patient of his, Mabel Martin, who asked to see him privately and made an appointment to call at his surgery at 2pm on Sunday 25 November 1951. He said that she kept the appointment and that when he saw her that she said, 'Doctor, I am worried, I am getting fat', and went on to say that she had not menstruated since July.

He said that he asked Mabel Martin whether she had been with a man but said that she denied that, but told him that in July 1951 that she had been on a firm's outing and had had too much to drink and suggested that it was possible that a man had taken advantage of her condition then.

The doctor said that he then examined Mabel Martin and formed the opinion that she was about five months pregnant which he said coincided with her story of the outing in July.

He said that Mabel Martin then asked him, 'What can be done about it?' and said that he pointed out to her quite clearly the danger of attempting abortion in her advanced condition and then advised her that the only course was to have the child.

He said that when he told Mabel Martin that she was pregnant she had appeared to be very surprised and shocked and so he believed her story about not having willingly been with a man.

The doctor said that when Mabel Martin left that he advised her to see him in about a fortnight and said that he would make arrangements for her to go into hospital for the birth.

However, the doctor said that Mabel Martin rang him the following day Monday 26 November 1951 between 11am and 11.30am and asked him if there was anything that could be done. The doctor said that he told her that there was nothing that she could do that he was aware of and advised her to see him in a fortnight and that he would then make arrangements for her to see a specialist. He said that Mabel Martin then rang off and that he never heard from her again.

The police later went to Wolf Electric Tools Ltd in Pioneer Works, Hanger Lane where Mabel Martin had worked and saw the personnel manager there. She said that Mabel Martin had started work with the company on 25 September 1950, noting that he had interviewed her before she was engaged. He said that she filled in an application form, stating that she was born on 3 March 1919 and had been working at Ascot Heaters Ltd and gave her address as 23 Gordon House, W5.

The personnel manager said that he asked her if she had a flat there but said that she told him that she was living with a friend at a cheap rate. He said that she appeared satisfactory and so she was engaged as a coil assembler at 1/7.63d per hour plus bonus and that her hours were 7.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Thursday and 7.30am to 4.30pm on Friday's with no Saturdays. He said that her average earnings were 35. 6s. 0d per week and that there was no record of her having been absent from work through sickness.

The personnel manager noted that Mabel Martin was absent from work from 18 June until 21 June 1951, but that he didn't know the reason for that and said that she last worked on Friday 23 November 1951 and was absent from work on 26 and 27 November 1951 without permission to be absent.

The personnel manager said that there had been a staff outing to Southend that took place on Saturday 16 June 1951, but said that after making enquiries, he had determined that Mabel Martin did not go on that outing.

The police later also spoke to the manageress of the Carnarvon Hotel in Ealing, W5.

The manageress said that Mabel Martin had been employed there as a relief waitress in the evenings, saying that she commenced her employment on 30 October 1950 and had been continuously employed until the time of her death, stating that the last time she worked at the hotel was on the evening of Monday 26 November 1951.

She said that Mabel Martin's hours of duty were from 7pm until 8pm each evening, excluding Sunday, but that after 24 September 1951 that she had asked to be allowed to have Tuesday evenings off in addition to the Sundays and that after that date she did not work a Tuesday evening except on 18 September 1951.

The manageress said that when Mabel Martin first asked to have Tuesday evenings off that she said that she was having 'tummy trouble' and had to go to hospital. However, she said that Mabel Martin later said that she had a boyfriend and that she would always meet him on a Tuesday.

The manageress said that Mabel Martin's duties were to serve dinner from 7pm to 8pm and that her wages were 35/- a week and noted that her tips might have amounted to an additional 10/- a week. She added that Mabel Martin was also entitled to dinner after she had finished work but that in the latter months said that Mabel Martin rarely stopped for dinner and would leave immediately after finishing work.

The manageress said that she knew that Mabel Martin worked during the day and said that she had led her to believe that she had had a clerical job in a factory.

She said that as Mabel Martin was only employed for an hour each evening that she had little contact with any members of the staff of the hotel except the other waitresses and noted that she was not particularly friendly with any of them although she said that the residents all thought highly of her as a waitress. However, she said that she had no knowledge that Mabel Martin had been friendly with any of the male residents, although stated that after her death she had learnt that some of the men had taken her out.

The manageress noted that the only holiday that Mabel Martin had taken whilst in their employ was from 18 June to 25 June 1951.

The manageress noted that the rich man and his wife had been residents of the hotel from 6 September 1950 until 8 June 1951 when they left to take a flat in Ealing. She said that Mabel Martin served the couple twice a week for dinners during her time there and said that she had no occasion to suspect that she had been friendly with the rich man, or indeed any of the male guests.

The manageress stated that Mabel Martin was always pleasant to both woman and men residents at the hotel.

She said that Mabel Martin never discussed her private affairs and said that she had no idea that she was Irish, and didn't even know her address.

The manageress said that after Mabel Martin's death she leant that Mabel Martin had been out with two other men who were residents at the hotel.

She said that the last time that she saw her was on Monday 26 November 1951, stating that she seemed quite normal and that she left immediately after dinner.

She said that there was no suggestion of her leaving her employment and said that she had no suspicion that she was pregnant.

Mabel Martin's sister, who lived in Queens Walk, Ealing, W5, said that Mabel Martin was brought up in Dublin and had attended an Elementary School until she reached the age of 14. She said that she was a Protestant until reaching the age of 16 when she became a Roman Catholic.

She said that when Mabel Martin was about 17 she entered a Convent at Hastings with the object of becoming a Nun and stayed at the Convent for three years, but said that she failed to take her final vows and returned home to her mother in Dublin with whom she stayed for about two years.

She said that their mother was in business as a hairdresser and that Mabel Martin assisted in the home whilst there. However, she said that Mabel Martin then entered a Convent in Chelsea where she stayed until about 1939 after which she returned again to live with her mother in Dublin, staying then until about November 1942 and she returned to England and started working with the Standard Telephone Company at Boreham Wood.

Mabel Martin's sister said that Mabel Martin later worked for Napiers at Acton Vale and then Ascot Water Heaters on the North Circular Road at Neasden and then finally at Woolf's Electric Tools in Alperton Road, Ealing. She added that since about the middle of 1950 that Mabel Martin had also worked at the Carnarvon Hotel in the evenings.

Mabel Martin's sister said that the only addresses that she knew that Mabel Martin had stayed at during that time were in Windsor Road in Finchley and Gordon House on the Western Avenue, Ealing.

She said that Mabel Martin was not married but that about two years earlier in 1949 she said that Mabel Martin had had hopes of marrying an old school friend, but her arrangements to get married came to nothing and said that she was sure that Mabel Martin had been disappointed with that.

Mabel Martin's sister said that since 1942 that Mabel Martin had been a regular visitor to her house and had often spent weekends with her, saying that she was in habit of calling on her every Sunday and usually had dinner with her and her family. 

She said that the last time that Mabel Martin called at her address was between 6.45pm and 7pm on Sunday 25 November 1951, noting that she had made no arrangements to come to dinner but said that had she called she would have been welcome.

She said that Mabel Martin seemed quite carefree and happy at dinner but didn't say where she had been during the day or that she had been to see her doctor. Mabel Martin's sister said that she herself had just returned from Dublin that morning where she had been to see her mother, and said that she had brought back a pair of nylons and some foodstuffs that she gave to Mabel Martin.

She said that Mabel Martin left at about 8.30pm, noting that she could fix the time by the fact that her daughter had gone out to get some cigarettes and that she had then gone on to Mabel Martin's address to give her some cigarettes too.

Mabel Martin's sister said that Mabel Martin never mentioned to her that she was pregnant and said that she didn't suspect that she was in that condition. She said that about two and a half years earlier that Mabel Martin had told her that she was late with her periods and said that she provided her with some 17 menstruation pills and said that a week after that Mabel Martin told her that she was quite all right again.

She said that the last time that Mabel Martin visited her mother in Dublin was between 17 June and 25 June 1951, noting that she had not visited her mother for a period of three years prior to that.

She said that Mabel Martin never brought a male friend to her house although she said that she tried to persuade her to do so. She added that Mabel Martin never told her much about such friends and never gave her the name of any of them. However, she did say that on one occasion that Mabel Martin had told her that she had met a wealthy bachelor at the hotel and that she could marry him whenever she liked. She said that Mabel Martin told her that the wealthy bachelor had given her a camera which she lent to her and also a cigarette lighter which she showed her.

Mabel Martin's sister added that she regretted to say that Mabel Martin was very untruthful and said that she often told untruths unnecessarily.

She also said that Mabel Martin always seemed to be short of money, which she said was a state of affairs that she could not understand as she was earning good wages and was assisted by their mother and had no heavy financial responsibilities as far as she knew.

Mabel Martin's sister said that as far as she knew, Mabel Martin was not a member of any clubs and had no real friends. She said that she was a self-centred person who never confided with her. She additionally noted that she was sorry to say that Mabel Martin was deceitful.

Mabel Martin's sister said that when she last saw Mabel Martin, that she didn't mention to her when she would next see her, but said that later in the evening after her daughter got back from delivering the cigarettes that her daughter told her that Mabel Martin had told her that she would see her on the following Thursday or Friday.

She said that during the past two years that Mabel Martin did not tell her that she had been to see a doctor, but said that about two months ago she did say that she had had gastric ulcers and was on a diet, but did not say that she had been to see a doctor about it.

Her sister noted that Mabel Martin had lived with her at her house for two months in 1944 but had moved out because it was too far to travel.

The police also spoke to a charge hand with James Walker Ltd at Lion Works in Woking who said that he had become friendly with Mabel Martin between 1945 and 1947 but had not seen her since.

He said that around 1945 that he had been serving with the Metropolitan War Reserve at Finchley Station and had got to know Mabel Martin, and found that she was living near where he lived at the time which was in Holdenhurst Avenue, N12. He said that Mabel Martin later moved to Windsor Road in Finchley and that his wife and daughter were evacuated to Woking and that he was living alone.

He said that soon after he became friendly with Mabel Martin, they had sexual intercourse and hat during the eighteen months that he knew her that he was intimate with her on numerous occasions. He said that he thought that she welcomed his attentions.

He said that Mabel Martin told her on one occasion that she had been out with a man in a car and that the man had given her a lot to drink and that she thought the he had had intercourse with her whilst she was under the influence of drink.

He added that when he first had intercourse with Mabel Martin that he was sure that it was not the first time that she had been intimate with a man.

He said that Mabel Martin told him that her mother was in business as a tobacconist and confectioner at Menston near Harrogate and had told him that she was a Yorkshire girl

The charge hand also said that on one occasion that he had lent Mabel Martin the sum of £5, but said that she never repaid him. He said that she did later ask him for more money but said that he declined to give her any.

He said that the last time that he saw Mabel Martin was about August 1947 when he met her in Neasden and told her in effect that he would not be seeing her again. He said that at the time she had been working at Ascot Heaters Ltd where he had also worked from October 1946 until about July 1947.

He said that he was quite sure that Mabel Martin had not become pregnant as a result of him having intercourse with her.

He added that a few months after he last saw Mabel Martin that she called on his wife at their Woking address, but said that his wife sent her away after being unfriendly towards her, and said that since then he heard no more from her.

When Mabel Martin's inquest concluded on Thursday 28 February 1952, the jury returned a verdict of manslaughter against some person or persons unknown.

The rich man attended the inquest and gave evidence, stating that he knew nothing about her death. When the coroner summed up, he said, 'You formed your own impression of the rich man, having seen him in the witness-box. But I hope for his sake that you will not run away with the idea that he is involved in this beyond the point that he was associated with the woman'.

When the rich man gave evidence at the inquest, he said that he had no idea that she was pregnant and had never suspected it. He said that he telephoned Mabel Martin on the Sunday and that they went out for a short run in his car and that on the Monday he met her outside the Carnarvon Hotel and that they had a drink together and then went on to her flat where he stayed until about 10pm. He said then, that on the Tuesday he met her at about 1.30pm in Acton and drove her to a public house and that they then parted, stating that Mabel Martin told him that she was going to the West End by tube and that she would be back at her flat by about 6pm. He said that he called at her flat at that time but said that she wasn't there and that later that night he attended his Masonic lodge after which he went straight home at about 10pm. When the coroner asked the rich man whether he went out again after that he replied, 'No'. He also said that he lent his car to nobody. He also said that he had no contact with Mabel Martin on the Wednesday.

He said that the first that he knew of Mabel Martin's death was when the police went to his home on the Thursday morning.

He said, 'I never had any relations with Mabel'.

He also said, 'She never told me she was pregnant. I never gave her any financial help'.

When the coroner asked the rich man whether when they parted on the Tuesday Mabel Martin had told him whether she was going somewhere to have an operation, he said, 'No, no, certainly not, I had no idea'.

When the pathologist gave evidence at the inquest, he said that the operation that had been carried out on Mabel Martin showed knowledge and skill and said that it could not have been done by Mabel Martin herself, stating that she died suddenly from shock without warning.

The police files include a statement from a 23-year-old student at the London School of Economics dated 3 December 1951, which stated:

On Tuesday 27 November 1951, at about 11.30pm I was going home, walking to the Belsize Park Underground Station from 33 Belsize Park Gardens. When I reached Howitt Road a black saloon motor car of the streamlined type and about 12hp size passed me and drew up about 200 yards ahead of me. It was being driven peculiarly, it swerved to the offside of the road and stopped some way out from the kerb.

When I overtook it the car was stationary and I had the impression the front passenger seat was out and a woman was lying full length, her head towards the back of the car. I noticed her legs were uncovered to above her knees. I did not notice her clothing as she was partly in shadow. The male driver was sitting at the wheel and not apparently interfering with her at all.

I did not stop but when I reached the end of the road the car was still stationary.

This road is not the type frequented by courting couples, it is not a main road but is frequently used by people leaving the underground.

It is near Hampstead General Hospital and I had the impression the girl or woman was ill and was being taken to hospital. So far as I could see there was no movement coming from the woman. The car stopped about half-way along the south side of the road facing Haverstock Hill.

When I read about the woman being found dead at Iver I wondered whether there was any connection between it and the woman I had seen in the car.

I do not know the make of the car, it was probably an English manufacture. I did not get the number.

The man, as far as I could tell, was dressed in a black hat and coat, his face was turned away from me and I could not give any idea of his age or other appearance. I wouldn't know him again.

I cannot help further about the girl's appearance I didn’t see her face.

I believe the car stopped by a streetlight.

I can't add to this because I only saw the car in passing and didn't stop or peer into it'.

In a final letter dated 9 August 1952, from the Bucks County Constabulary to the Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, the police wrote, 'Thank you so much for your letter of 6th August, enclosing me a copy of a report which is indeed very interesting reading. I quite agree with you that there is no doubt that the murder was committed in your district'.


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


see National Archives - MEPO 2/9130

see Uxbridge & W. Drayton Gazette - Friday 07 December 1951

see Daily Herald - Friday 29 February 1952