Unsolved Murders

Walter Herbert Plows

Age: 60

Sex: male

Date: 7 Aug 1938

Place: The Balk, Walton

Walter Herbert Plows was found dead on a grass verge in The Balk, Walton.

Walter Plows was an unemployed miner and had lived in Haw Park Cottages in Walton near Wakefield.

He was found dead on the grass verge on the morning of 7 August 1938 and his cause of death was given as being due to haemorrhage and shock from fractures of the thigh and pelvis which a doctor said had been due to a blow of considerable violence.

He had been drinking at the New Inn in Walton earlier on in the evening. The landlord there said that Walter Plows left the Inn on the Saturday evening after having about four or five pints of mild beer. He said that when he left he was merry, but not drunk. He said that Walter Plows had told him that he had slept in a hedge bottom on a previous occasion.

The police said that they had investigated his death but said that they were unable to say how the violence had been caused, saying that there was no evidence. However, they said that it might have been that he had been struck down by a car.

His body was found by a moulder that had lived on Doncaster Road in Wakefield who said that he was cycling up the lane to go fishing at 7.45am on the Sunday morning. He said that he found Walter Plows and then stopped a car, driven by a farmer from Rose Cottage, and said, 'There is a man here dead'. He said that the farmer then replied, 'I have seen a man here a night or two'. When the moulder was questioned, he said that he did not think that the farmer said, 'I saw this man last night'.

The policeman said that he found no marks of a struggle in the lane and said that when he asked the farmer if he had seen Walter Plows the previous night, the farmer had said, 'I know nowt about him'.

The doctor that had carried out the post-mortem on Walter Plows said that he did not think that his injuries could have been caused by a fall, unless it was from a tremendous height. When the Coroner asked the doctor whether he thought that his injuries could have been caused by him being run over by a car, the doctor said that he did not think so, unless it was a very heavy one and added that if the vehicle had been travelling very fast and had struck him on his right side, then that might have caused his injuries.

Another man said that he had been driving along The Balk at 12.25am on the Sunday morning after visiting friends and said, 'I saw a man lying on the side of the road. He was lying on the road, though his head might have been on the grass verge. I swerved and missed him, stopping further on. I got out of my car and spoke to him. I did not know him. I asked him what he was doing there. He said that he was all right. He seemed to me to be drunk. I asked him where he lived, and he said, 'Wood End'. I asked him if I could do anything for him and he replied, 'No, go home.'.

The Coroner then asked the man whether he knocked Walter Plows over or hit him in any shape or form, and the man said, 'No'.

An open verdict was returned.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Leeds Mercury - Wednesday 17 August 1938