Unsolved Murders

Eileen Cook

Age: 44

Sex: female

Date: 4 Feb 1945

Place: Sclater Street, Bethnal Green

Eileen Cook was killed in an air-raid shelter at Sclater Street, Bethnal Green on 4 February 1945.

She was found dead with face wounds by a policeman who was making a routine inspection of the shelter. It was thought that a knife, in addition to a steel tube, had been used by her killer and it was thought that he would have had bloodstains on his clothes. It was also reported that she had been battered about the head with a heavy weapon.

The police said that they thought that she had been killed for her money. Her handbag was missing and some of its contents, including her identity card were found nearby, outside the shelter.

The doctor that carried out her post-mortem said that in his opinion her cause of death was asphyxia due to manual strangulation and the inhalation of blood from facial injuries.

Eileen Cook was a native of Dublin, Ireland but left 20 years earlier and had then lived in Birmingham where she had been married but was later widowed. Her brother-in-law said that he had not seen her since 1930 but that he knew her by the wart on the side of her nose.

Eileen Cook was known as Irish Molly, Molly O'Connor, Molly Stratton and also Irene Humphreys (Eileen Humphries). The police said that the name on her identity card was a false one.

Her neighbours at Tiptree Street described Eileen Cook as a cheerful and generous person, especially with children, who she would often give a few coppers to in the street. One neighbour said that Eileen Cook often spoke of how she missed her own children. It was sad that Eileen Cook had told her friends that she had a grown-up son and daughter living with her husbands relations in Birmingham.

A dock labourer who lived in Tiptree Street, Shoreditch said that he had lived with Eileen Cook for the previous eight years and said that she had at first told him that her name was Molly O'Connor and then Molly Stratton but had finally told him that she was a widow from Birmingham and that her name was Ms Cook. It was heard that at the outbreak of war she had taken the the dock labourers name, Humphreys, for registration purposes.

It was heard that about a month before she was murdered, she had disappeared from Tiptree Street although she was during that period seen in the company of men and friends. It was reported that after leaving Tiptree Street she had been sleeping in air raid shelters.

Her neighbours said that she often left home for months and would then reappear and greet them as though she had never been away.

The police said that they were seeking a soldier who was described as being aged between 25 and 30 with a thin face and who had been wearing battle dress with a red shoulder flash. He had been seen with Eileen Cook early on Sunday evening and was thought that he could help with the police enquiries.

In 1947 an inmate of Parkhurst Prison made a statement regarding her murder which was determined to be false. The inmate later went on to offer information regarding the murder of Gertrude O'Leary who was murdered on 30 June 1949 in Bristol, stating that a Canadian soldier was the culprit, which was also determined to be false as well as information regarding the 'bullion' affair, which was the attempted theft of jewellery and cash from the BOAC Bonded Warehouse at London Airport, Heathrow on the night of 28/29th July 1948. It was concluded that the inmate was addicted to hallucinations and that it was therefore of no use interviewing him.

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

see www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

see National Archives - MEPO 3/2289

see Birmingham Daily Gazette - Saturday 10 February 1945

see Daily Mirror - Wednesday 07 February 1945

see Daily Herald - Tuesday 06 February 1945

see Birmingham Daily Post - Tuesday 06 February 1945

see Dundee Courier - Tuesday 06 February 1945

see Evening Despatch - Friday 09 February 1945

see Belfast News-Letter - Tuesday 06 February 1945

see True Crime Library