Unsolved Murders

Muriel Joy Skyrme

Age: 32

Sex: female

Date: 30 Apr 1938

Place: Wiltshire Downs, Warminster

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Muriel Joy Skyrme was found dead on the Wiltshire Downs on 30 April 1938.

She had been a shorthand typist from 21 Cross Road in Bushy, Hertfordshire.

She was found dying by the son of a local schoolmaster on West Wilts Golf Course on the downs near Warminster on the Saturday night and was taken to Warminster Hospital where she later died. A doctor and some nurses fought vainly for two hours to save her life.

Her cause of death was shown to be disinfectant poisoning, but it was heard that there was insufficient evidence to show how it had been consumed. A bottle was found near her.

She had left home, leaving an unsigned note that stated, 'Dear Mother, Thank you for all you have done and all the others. I am going away to be a nun and God has shown me the way'.

Her brother said that on the Sunday morning the sleeve of Muriel Skyrme's dressing gown caught fire and her left arm was burned. He said that she then went out, ostensibly, to see the doctor and have the burn dressed, but never came back and wasn't seen again.

The brother said that Muriel Skyrme had never been to Warminster district previously and said that she had no friends there.

Her brother said that he had enquired at the Rosary Priory, a convent near their home, but said that they had not heard of her. He also said that Muriel Skyrme went to church occasionally but had no church activities. He said that the only explanation that he could give was that she had suffered from shock as a result of her burn.

The police said that they searched the downs, but failed to find her handbag, which was said to have had about £2 5s in it when she had left home. They noted that her gold wristlet watch was also missing.

The Coroner suggested that she might have thrown her bag and watch away in order to prevent herself from being recognised.

The only clue about her identity was the laundry mark S 676 that was figured in blue on the corner of a handkerchief, and a burn mark on her left arm.

The police said that they thought that there was no question of foul play.

An open verdict was returned.


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


see Nottingham Journal - Wednesday 04 May 1938

see Western Morning News - Wednesday 04 May 1938

see Western Daily Press - Tuesday 03 May 1938

see Dundee Courier - Wednesday 04 May 1938