Unsolved Murders

Stanley Setty

Age: 46

Sex: male

Date: 5 Oct 1949

Place: Dengie Marshes, Tillingham, Essex

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Stanley Setty was murdered between 4 and 5 October 1949 and his body dismembered and dumped out of an aircraft over the Thames Estuary.

He was noted as having vanished on 5 October 1949 and on Monday 17 October 1949 a reward of £1,000 was offered for information concerning his whereabouts was offered. When he had vanished, he was said to have bad £1,500 in his possession. The £1,500 was said to have been made up of £5 notes and the man that was tried for his murder was found to have had a large roll of £5 notes on him.

A man was tried for his murder but acquitted, although he was convicted of being an accessory to murder.

Stanley Setty was a used car dealer. He had lived in a flat at Maitland Court in Lancaster Gate and had carried out his business from a garage in Cambridge Terrace Mews in Regent's Park.

His torso was found in Dengie Marshes near Tillingham, about 30 yards from the sea wall, by a farmer that had been out in a punt wild-fowling on Friday 21 October 1949. He said that he first thought that it was a bundle of pheasants or old bedding. He said that he could see that it was contained in a grey blanket and said that when he pulled the stitches apart, he found the body. He said that the arms were tied behind the back by a strap or a piece of rag which, after giving way, floated off. After he found it, he secured it with a stake and then went off for the police.

The farmer said that under normal conditions it would be possible to get a car within half a mile of the sea wall, and in fine weather, right up to it. He also noted that it would have been possible for the body to have floated down from the River Crouch or the River Blackwater.

When the police arrived they found that the torso was missing its head and legs but that both arms were still intact. He was then identified by his fingerprints after police matched them to fingerprints found in his abandoned cream-coloured car and on 27 November 1949 his clothing, a shirt and a pair of dark shorts, was shown to Stanley Setty's brother and sister and who identified them as his.

A doctor that examined his torso said that he found that Stanley Setty had been stabbed five times, three wounds of which had penetrated his lungs, and which were in his opinion the cause of death. However, the doctor noted that he could not say that there were no other causes of death due to the fact that the head was missing.

The police said that they thought that it would have taken several hours to have removed Stanley Setty's head and legs. The police added that the care with which his torso had been sewn into a blanket with his outer clothing supported the theory that it had not been hurried.

The police said that they thought that he had been murdered in London in a room or premises, possibly in the West End.

Before the police had considered the theory that his body had been thrown out of an aeroplane, they said that they thought that his murderer had driven as far as he could with his remains, about four miles towards the sea and had then got out and put on rubber boots and had gone on by foot towards the sea wall from where they had gone to a spot between Howe Outfall and Marsh House outfall where they dumped his body.

However, after medical experts later considered the condition of the torso they considered the possibility that his remains had been dropped by an aircraft and after some investigations the man that was tried was identified. It was later said that he had attempted to fly out over the sea to dump Stanley Setty's remains but that because the marshes from a height were difficult to distinguish from the sea, he had dumped the body parts too soon and they had landed in the marsh, where they were later found, and not the sea.


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


see The Scotsman - Friday 27 January 1950

see National Archives - MEPO 3/3144

see Belfast News-Letter - Monday 17 October 1949

see Coventry Evening Telegraph - Tuesday 25 October 1949

see Torbay Express and South Devon Echo - Monday 07 November 1949

see Nottingham Journal - Monday 24 October 1949

see Crime and Investigation

see Murderpedia

see New Yorker

see Essex Family History