Unsolved Murders

Rosemary Joan Talbot

Age: 53

Sex: female

Date: 10 Sep 1998

Place: Outwood Lane, Bletchingley, Surrey

Rosemary Joan Talbot was found strangled in a pond on 10 September 1998.

Her 59-year-old husband, a retired firefighter, was tried for her murder but acquitted at the Old Bailey in June 1999 of both murder and manslaughter.

It was claimed that he had killed her in a drunken fight.

Rosemary Talbot and her husband had been married for 22 years.

Rosemary Talbot had lived in Balcombe Road, Smallheath Road, Horley. Her husband had reported her missing in the early hours of the Thursday, 10 September 1998.

She was later found in a pond by Outwood Lane in an isolated beauty spot near Bletchingley by a man out walking his dog around 8am. Outwood Lane was closed during the police examination of the scene from the Prince Albert Pub in Bletchingley to Browns Hill.

The pond was next to Bransland Wood.

She had been strangled and her larynx fractured on both sides and she had internal bruising to her throat. Her torso was also bruised.

At the trial Rosemary Talbot's husband said that they had had a drunken brawl and that in the course of the fight he might have fallen on top of her with his forearm over her throat, causing her death. However, he denied taking her body to the pond by Bransland Wood or returning after to leave some of her possessions on the site to give the impression she had been attacked there.

He said that he remembered very little after having seen Rosemary Talbot standing over him with an object in her hand that looked like a hammer. He went on to say that he suffered a complete loss of memory.

He said that later that night he called the police to report her missing and then cruised around the Horley area looking for her.

It was heard that one of Rosemary Talbot's son's died from cancer aged 16 in 1985 and that that had led her to going on drinking binges at the time of birthdays and anniversaries. It was heard that staff at the local off licence had even considered refusing to serve her because they had feared for her health.

On the day of her death Rosemary Talbot had been in the off licence soon after 2pm to buy a half-litre bottle of vodka and was back at 6.30pm for another one.

The prosecution stated that for Rosemary Talbot to have died, sustained pressure on her neck would have been needed for one or two minutes. The prosecution then contended that her husband had not been drunk, but had been in control both before and after Rosemary Talbot's death.

The defence stated that Rosemary Talbot's husband had used reasonable self-defence to protect himself from a hammer attack by Rosemary Talbot.

Following Rosemary Talbot's husband's acquittal, lawyers for the prosecution stated that they might refer the case to the Court of Appeal for reconsideration.

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

see surrey.police.uk

see What Do They Know

see Surrey Mirror - Thursday 17 September 1998

see Horley & Gatwick Mirror - Thursday 03 June 1999

see Horley & Gatwick Mirror - Thursday 24 September 1998