Unsolved Murders

Ernest Marie Felix Castelein

Age: 64

Sex: male

Date: 30 Jul 1945

Place: Queens Gate Chambers, Flat 5, 52A Cromwell Road, Kensington, London, SW7

Ernest Castelein was attacked in his studio flat in Cromwell Road, South Kensington on 24 or 25 July 1945 and later died in hospital on 29 July 1945.

He was discovered after a nurse who was passing his studio heard his groans.

He was found naked lying next to a divan.

No weapon was found in his studio.

After he was admitted to hospital in Wimbledon the police waited by his bedside in case he recovered consciousness, but he died before doing so.

He was a Belgian portrait painter. He had exhibited his paintings in Brussels and Antwerp and had painted the portrait of a number of titled people. It was noted that one of his principal works was a portrait of Miss Margaret Bannerman, the actress.

At the time of his murder, he had had a portrait on an easel that was facing his body of a woman in a white satin dress. The woman was later identified as the wife of a Wing-Commander in the RAF.

The police said that they were looking for an American soldier with a Gladstone bag who was seen in the vicinity of Cromwell Road or Gloucester Road in London in the early hours of Wednesday. The Gladstone bag was said to have been stolen from Ernest Castelein. The soldier was said to have been seen with Ernest Castelein earlier on.

The police searched cloakrooms at railway stations across London as well as thousands of second hand clothes shops for the stolen Gladstone bag and stolen suit.

It was thought that a taxi-driver had picked up a man that had been wearing either the stolen suit or a soldier's uniform at about 2am in South Kensington who it was thought was probably carrying the stolen bag.

His inquest on 27 September 1945 returned a verdict of murder by some person or persons unknown'.

The buildings at Queen's Gate Chambers have since been redeveloped.

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

see www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

see National Archives - MEPO 3/2320

see Nottingham Journal - Tuesday 31 July 1945

see Derby Daily Telegraph - Saturday 28 July 1945

see Western Daily Press - Thursday 02 August 1945

see Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette - Thursday 26 July 1945

see Kensington Post - Saturday 06 October 1945

see Coventry Evening Telegraph - Thursday 27 September 1945