Unsolved Murders

Harry Caulton Reeks

Age: 33

Sex: male

Date: 30 Apr 1935

Place: Red Lion Street, Spalding

Harry Caulton Reeks was found shot through the head.

He was found by his father at 10pm on the Saturday evening lying in the entrance to the garage at their home in Red Lion Street. He had a wound to his forehead and there was a shot pistol lying near his feet.

He was a vet and was working in his family’s business in which his father and grandfather had also been vets. He had trained at the London Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and spent a year in Forfar in Scotland working with another vet and was said to have had a brilliant scholastic career.

Harry Reeks had carried out his normal veterinary rounds on the Saturday and had appeared to be in good health. His father said that they went to a man's house to discuss business and that he left at 8.20pm to go to the office and that Harry Reeks followed him a few minutes later. The father said that they then went home for supper and that he left Harry Reeks in the garage and that that was the last that he saw of him.

After the police carried out their investigations they said that Harry Reeks had appeared perfectly normal on the evening of his death and said that he was last seen at about 9.15pm walking through the yard at the White Hart Hotel.

Harry Reeks's father said that he later went into the garage at 10pm to fetch a pipe which was in the attache case in his car and said that he saw Harry Reeks's legs in the dark. He said that he tried to light a match but that the wind blew it out and that he put his hand down into a pool of blood and then went off for his wife who then turned the lights of the car on and they saw that the legs belonged to Harry Reeks.

When the doctor arrived he found Harry Reeks dead with a wound over his right eyebrow which was stained black in a ring, which was later described as being consistent with having been shot with the pistol. The post-mortem found that the entry hole was about one inch above his right eyebrow about 1 1/4 inches in diameter.

The pistol was found near Harry Reeks's left foot. It was a .410 calibre pistol and the hammer was down with an empty cartridge in the breach.

It was noted that the place where the shot had gone into his skull was on a thick part and that if he were to have committed suicide that a man with his anatomical knowledge might not have chosen that spot as the weakest. It was also said that it was probable that the gun had been in a horizontal position when fired as the bullet had not been fired from an upward or downward orientation. The doctor said that if he were to shoot himself he would not have done it like that, noting that the weakest spot was behind the ear and said that the main difficulty would have been getting the gun straight and still being able to pull the trigger.

His father said that Harry Reeks had been in no financial trouble.

The pistol was for training dogs and his father said that he had seen Harry Reeks bring it into the office many times and that it was often left in the back of the car.

It was noted that they had kennels near the house and that Harry Reeks had recently been out to chivvy cats off of them as they set the dogs off and that he might have been in the process of taking the pistol out to scare them off again.

It was noted that the garage lights were off at the time his body was found.

The Coroner said that he removed all possibility that Harry Reeks died at the hands of another and told the jury that they had three choices, that he took his own life, that his death was accidental or if they were not certain on the cause that they return an open verdict. The jury then returned an open verdict of Found Shot.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Lincolnshire Echo - Tuesday 30 April 1935

see Boston Guardian - Saturday 04 May 1935