Unsolved Murders

Mary McLeod

Age: 52

Sex: female

Date: 29 Jul 1942

Place: 18 Fleur De Lis Buildings, Stepney

Source: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Mary McLeod was murdered in her flat at 18 Fleur De Lis Buildings, Stepney between 25 and 29 July 1942.

A 44-year-old man was tried for the murder based mainly on the fact that he had lied during questioning, but at the trial the prosecution offered no evidence and he was acquitted. When first questioned he said he did not see Mary that day, however that was later shown to have been a lie as his fingerprints were found on an ale bottle in her bedroom and he had been seen with her in two public houses. However, that was all the Police offered to support their case and it was noted that they had not questioned other people, especially another man that it was said to have been seen entering her flat late that night with her and who was possibly not the main suspect.

Mary McLeod was a prostitute and had 16 convictions against her. She used to solicit in the pubs in the Aldgate district and was known as Irish Mary.

The main suspect was acquitted, and the murder of Mary McLeod was never solved. He was a 48-year-old labourer and had lived in Rowton House at 57 Fieldgate Street in Stepney.

Mary McLeod was a native of Dublin and was also the subject of CRO file No. 1213/17 in the name of Mary Chapman. She had been married to a merchant seaman from Invernesshire in Scotland, but he died on 8 May 1937 aged 39.

Mary McLeod had lived in London for many years, but no relatives could be traced. She had lived at 18 Fleur-de-Lis Buildings in Fleur-de-Lis street, Stepney in September 1940 and it was stated that she had undoubtedly been carrying on the life of a prostitute, soliciting public houses in the Aldgate district. She had 16 convictions recorded against her for larceny-person and shoplifting and in addition there were 15 summary convictions against her for drunkenness, prostitution and riotous behaviour.

It was also found that she had previously lived for many years at 301 Mile End Road until about September 1940 when she was bombed out, at which point she took the flat at 18 Fleur-de-Lis Buildings.

At about 10.45am on 29 July 1942, a friend of Mary McLeod who lived in 15 Fleur-de-Lis Buildings went to the Commercial Street police station stating that she had not seen Mary McLeod since 25 July 1942 and that she had reason to believe that something unusual had happened to her because a woman that lived at 13 Fleur-de-Lis Buildings had told her that she had heard noises from 18 Fleur-de-Lis Buildings, Mary McLeod's flat, at about 3am on 26 July 1942. She also said that she had been to Mary McLeod's flat shortly before and that she had found her door slightly ajar and that when she had pushed the door open she had found that the blackout material was still in position.

When the police went to 18 Fleur-de-Lis Buildings, they entered the room and then went through a door on the extreme left of the room and into a bedroom where they saw the body of Mary McLeod lying on a bed covered with an eiderdown and only her face being exposed. Her face was discoloured, swollen and there was congealed blood on her cheeks.

There were bloodstains on the pillow and a dried bloodstain about 5 inches by 2 inches on the linoleum at the side of her bed in which there were signs that a boot or shoe had skidded through it.

When the Divisional Surgeon arrived at 11.15am, he said that he found Mary McLeod nude except for two vests that had been pulled up and over her head. He said that her face was dark, bloated and that her tongue was protruding through her teeth, and he said that he formed the opinion that she had been dead for three or four days.

The flat had two rooms, a sitting room and a bedroom. The police said that the rooms were situated at the end of a passageway on the third floor. The first room, the sitting room, was about 12 feet by 8 feet from which there was a door that led into the bedroom which was also 12 feet by 8 feet.

In the bedroom there was a table by the bedside on which the police found a home-made cigarette end. Also, by the leg of the table the police found two empty bottles lying on their sides on the floor. The first was a quart beer bottle and the other was a pint 'Guinness' bottle. They were both labelled 'Taylor Walkers', and both had the appearance of being recently purchased. The police also found two wooden match sticks on the floor that appeared to have been recently burnt.

The police also found a handbag on the shelf of a dresser, in which there were three broken dentures, two of which appeared to be top dentures and the other a lower denture.

When the police looked in a gas stove that was in the living room they found a canvas bag that contained money and Mary McLeod's National Registration Identity Card.

Other policemen later arrived to make a minute examination of the flat and take fingerprints. Whilst doing so the police found finger impressions on the quart bottle and a thumb impression on the pint 'Guinness' bottle. When the police then made a search of the finger impressions recorded at New Scotland Yard, they found that the impressions on each of the bottles were those of Mary McLeod and the man who they later tried for her murder.

When a pathologist arrived to examine her body, he found a group of hairs that were adhering to Mary McLeod's left and right hands by means of dried blood.

After Mary McLeod's body was conveyed to Poplar Mortuary at 4pm on 29 July 1942, the pathologist certified that Mary McLeod's injuries were consistent with:

  1. Being pinned by her arms and across the trunk at her back, struggling and sustaining scratches on her face as if done whilst attempts were being made to stifle cries.
  2. Having been struck a single blow on the head from the front, with a blunt instrument, similar to a bottle.
  3. Having been manually strangled by some person from the front with the left hand.

The pathologist then certified her cause of death as being due to asphyxia due to manual strangulation.

A woman that lived at 5 Fleur-de-Lis Buildings said that at about 9.30pm On the Saturday, 25 July 1942, she had been in the Three Tuns public house in Aldgate with a friend and that whilst there, she had seen Mary McLeod who she said tried to pick a fight with her. She said that there was a man and a woman with Mary McLeod, noting that she knew the woman by name and the man by sight. The man that she had seen with Mary McLeod in the Three Tuns public house was the man that was later tried for her murder.

The woman said that later that night, after she got home, at about 11.45pm on the Saturday 25 July 1942, that she had just left the lavatory, which was situated on the landing of her floor at the Buildings, and that by the light that was coming through her flat door, which she said was slightly ajar, she saw Mary McLeod going upstairs towards her flat with a man. She said that the man had his right arm round Mary McLeod's back and that he was wearing a brown suit. She described him as being broad but said that she was unable to tell what his height was as he was going upstairs. When questioned, she said that she was unable to say whether the man that she had seen going up the stairs with Mary McLeod was the man that she had seen with her and the other woman in the Three Tuns, although she noted that the man that she had seen in the Three Tuns with Mary McLeod had also been wearing a brown suit.

The woman that lived in the flat below Mary McLeod's, at 13 Fleur-de-Lis Buildings, said that at about 2.30am on the Sunday early morning, 26 July 1942, that she was awoken by a noise from 18 Fleur-de-Lis Buildings. she said that the noise appeared to her as though someone was scuffling on the floor and said that she heard a clink of glass as though a foot had rattled a bottle. She said that she also heard the sound of someone going through the act of vomiting and heard a woman's voice say, 'Open the window! Open the window!'. However, the woman said that she didn't pay much attention to the noise as it was not unusual for her to be awakened by Mary McLeod coming home in a drunken condition. The woman said that the noise soon stopped and that she didn't hear anymore and didn't take any further notice of Mary McLeod until Tuesday 28 July 1942 when she mentioned to her neighbour, the woman from 15 Fleur-de-Lis Buildings, that she had not seen Mary McLeod about, which then subsequently caused the neighbour from 15 Fleur-de-Lis Buildings to look at Mary McLeod's door and to them go for the police.

A husband and wife that lived at 17 Fleur-de-Lis Buildings said that they also heard Mary McLeod come home at about midnight on 25 July 1942 and said that they heard the voice of a man with her, but that as they knew Mary McLeod as a person who brought men friends home they paid little attention to it. The husband added that on the night of Tuesday 28 July 1942, at about 3am, he was awakened by the sound of gunfire and got up and got dressed and went on to his landing to see, and said that as he did so he noted that there was a light shining from under the door at 18 Fleur-de-Lis Buildings. However, he said that he didn't pay any attention to it and later re-entered his own flat.

The police said that as a result of finding the finger impressions on the bottles, they made enquiries at all public houses and off-licenses, particularly those selling 'Taylor Walkers' beers, which led them to the White Heart public house in Whitechapel. They said that when they spoke to the landlord and landlady, as well as a barmaid there, they found that Mary McLeod had visited the White Heart regularly during the previous four weeks and said that she had usually been in the company of two or three other women and a man, who was described as being aged about 40 years, about 5ft 9in tall, and who wore a brown suit. Whilst the landlord said that he did not see Mary McLeod in the pub on the Saturday 25 July 1942, his wife said that she had been in and that she had been accompanied by the man in the brown suit.

The landlady said that Mary McLeod and the man came in at about 7.15pm nn the Saturday 25 July 1942 with two other woman and the man in the brown suit who was the man that was later tried for Mary McLeod's murder. She said that the group purchased refreshments and remained sitting at a table until about 8pm.

The landlady said that the barmaid approached her on the Saturday night and asked her if Mary McLeod and her friends could have some bottled beer to take away and said that she referred the barmaid to her husband and said that she later saw the barmaid take a quart bottle of ale from a shelf and a pint Guinness bottle from another shelf and then hand them over the counter to the group that Mary McLeod was with. The landlady said that when the group left the bar, she remarked to the barmaid, 'Thanks God they have gone!', and it was noted by the police that it appeared that the landlady did not trust Mary McLeod or her friends and that she was pleased to see them leave her public house.

The barmaid said that on 25 July 1942, she had been serving in the public bar from 5pm to 10.30pm, with the exception of from 6.55pm to 7.15pm, when she had left to have refreshments.

The barmaid said that for the last six months Mary McLeod and two other women and a man had been using the public bar as casual customers and knew them very well. She said that she had heard the women mention each other's names but said that she had neve heard the man's name.

She said that on 25 July 1942, at 7.15pm, after she had returned from her supper, she had seen Mary McLeod and the two women and man in the public bar and had served them with three Guinnesses and a pint of 'Main Line'. She said that she served them with one or two more drinks between then and about 8pm and which time she said that one of the women asked her, 'Can we have some bottled beer to take out?'. The bar maid said that she told the woman that she would find out and went to see the landlady and asked her if she could sell them some bottled beer. The bar maid said that she then handed the woman a quart bottle of brown or light ale and a pint bottle of Guinness. She said that the woman then handed her a £1 note for the goods and that shortly after the group, with Mary McLeod, left the pub.

However, the bar maid noted that she later saw Mary McLeod and one of the other women come back into the pub between 9.30pm and 10pm that same night, and said that the woman purchased two Guinness’s which they drank and then left and said that that was the last time that she saw Mary McLeod.

The barmaid was later shown the two bottles that were found in Mary McLeod's bedroom at 18 Fleur De Lis Buildings, and she said that they were identical to the bottles that she had served the woman earlier that evening on 25 July 1942.

Another bar maid at the Three Tuns public house said that she recalled serving Mary McLeod and one of her female friends between 7pm and 8pm on 25 July 1942 in the Saloon Bar, saying that they had had two Guinness’s, but said that she didn't remember seeing the other woman or the man in their company that night.

The manager of the Three Tuns public house said that he saw Mary McLeod and her female friend in the public bar between 9pm and 9.30pm on the Saturday, 25 July 1942, but said that he was unable to say whether he had seen the man in the brown suit with them. However, it was also noted that he didn't know the man in the brown suit, and as such, it was thought possible that he had been there, but that he had not noticed.

Mary McLeod was also seen by the manageress of the Three Tuns public house in the public bar at about 9pm on 25 July 1942. She said that Mary McLeod asked her when would she have a pub of her own. The manageress said that she later saw one of Mary McLeod's friends in the pub on 29 July 1942 at about 6.30pm, along with the man who was later tried for murder. She said that the woman told her that she had the murderer's coat over her arm. The manageress said that she saw that Mary McLeod's female friend was carrying a dirty gentleman's raincoat with what appeared to be a fleecy lining. She said that when the woman said that, the man didn't say anything.

A woman that lived in Gurney Road in Stratford, said that she had visited the Three Tuns public house at about 8pm on the Saturday 25 July 1942 and had seen Mary McLeod in the company of some other women, a soldier and a man in a brown suit, and said that there was a row between the woman over some men.

The cellar man at the Three Tuns public house said that at about 8.30pm on the Saturday 25 July 1942, he had seen an argument between Mary McLeod and another woman. He said that they were apparently arguing about a sailor and that after a few minutes they went outside the pub to continue arguing there. He noted that Mary McLeod had been using strong language to the other women.

The licensee of the Still and Garter public house at 1 Little Somerset Street, E1, said that Mary McLeod entered his pub at about 8pm on 25 July 1942. He noted that he could not say whether there were other people with her because he was so busy but said that he remembered Mary McLeod as she had given a child, who had been outside the bar, a bag of cherries. He said that Mary McLeod was usually accompanied by another man when she visited his pub, and said that the man was about 40 years old, 5ft 8in tall, slim, with a thin face and dressed in a brown suit and light grey cap.

The cellar man at the Essex public house in Aldgate said that he saw Mary McLeod in the pub with another woman at about 8.30pm, and later left the pub, leaving the other woman there.

A woman from 5 Fleur De Lis Buildings said that at about 9.30pm on the Saturday 25 July 1942, that she saw Mary McLeod outside the Three Tuns public house and said that Mary McLeod stopped her and said that she had heard that another woman had called her a 'F------g Irish bastard'. The woman said that she did not argue with Mary McLeod but went into the pub, noting that Mary McLeod followed her in and started drinking with three strange women. She said that she later left the pub at about 9.35pm, leaving Mary McLeod inside.

A woman that lived in Whites Row in Spitalfields, E1, said that she was a friend of Mary McLeod and saw her in the Three Tuns public house on the Saturday night, 25 July 1942. She said that she had a few words with her before she left and said that she noticed that she was with a man who she described as being aged about 45 to 48, 5ft 4in to 5ft 5in tall, with a fresh complexion, clean shaven and wearing a cap. She said that she believed that the man was Irish and that he lived in the Salvation Army Hostel in Middlesex Street, E1. However, she said that she could not remember whether she had been there with anyone else because she was 'boozy'.

Another woman that lived in Lolesworth Buildings, E1, said that she had been in the Three Tuns public house at about 10.20pm on 25 July 1942 and said that she was asked to have a drink by Mary McLeod. She said that Mary McLeod had been talking to another woman and that she became noisy and was ordered to get out of the pub, and said that Mary McLeod and the other woman left the pub. She said that she then saw Mary McLeod and another woman walk off towards Aldgate, however, she said that after a few yards Mary McLeod told her friend that she was going to the lavatory and walked back towards the Three Tuns public house, saying that the other woman then walked off.

The police said that on the night of 29 July 1942, they instructed police officers to visit the Aldgate district and to interview persons who might be able to assist in the enquiry. As a result, they brought three men to the Commercial Street police station, one of the men being the man that was tried. The police said that when they brought the man that was tried to the police station he said, 'What's all this f-----g nonsense about?' and when the policeman that he was with said, 'The Chief wants to see you about a woman who was found dead in her flat at Fleur-de-Lis Street', the man said, 'Where is the place?'. The police said that when they told him that it was near the police station the man said, 'Who is the woman?', and when they told her that it was Mary McLeod, he said, 'I don't know her. The fellow who did it ought to get tops'.

The police said that they took statements from the other two men, but not from the man that they later tried. They said that they had received the information regarding Mary McLeod being seen in the pub with a man in a brown suit and observed that the man had been wearing a brown suit when they brought him to the police station, but said that they didn't deem it advisable at that stage to interrogate him. However, they also noted later that at that stage they had not known that the man's finger impressions had been on the two bottles found on Mary McLeod's bedroom floor.

However, they said that they later interrogated the man on 30 July 1942, along with his female friend. The police said that on 30 July 1942, at about 6.15pm, they saw the man and his friend in the Blue Coat Boy public house in Norton Folgate and informed them that they desired to interview them and said that they agreed to come back to the Commercial Street police station for that purpose. The police said that they first interviewed the woman, leaving the man in a room with a police sergeant. They said that when the man and the police sergeant were in the room, the man said, 'You have known me a few years. Do you think I would strangle a woman like that?', and that whilst he said that he went through the actions of strangling a person about the throat with his hands. The police said that he then added, 'Poor cow. She must have been bashed about a bit. She always did suffer with her chest, she deserved a better death than that. She had a heart of gold'.

When the woman was interviewed, she said that she wasn't in the Aldgate district on the Saturday 25 July 1942. She said that she had left with the man the day before, 24 July 1942, at about 7pm and had gone to stay with a friend of hers at 9 Rhodes Street in Holloway, N7. She said that whilst there she and the man visited various public houses with her friends and eventually returned to the Aldgate area after 10pm on Sunday 26 July 1942.

When the man was interviewed next, he said the same thing, saying that he had gone with the woman after the pubs closed on Friday 24 July 1942 at about 10.30pm to Rhodes Street in Holloway, which he said was to the rear of the Caledonian Road police station and that over the weekend he went out with the woman and her friends to various pubs in the King's Cross area. He said that he returned to Aldgate on 26 July 1942 and that his friend went to her place in Mossford Street, E2 and that he went to Rowton House at 57 Fieldgate Street, E1. He said that he slept both the nights of 24 and 25 July 1942 at the friend’s house at 9 Rhodes Street in Holloway.

The man further stated that the last time that he saw Mary McLeod was on 13 July 1942 when he and a woman stayed with her for the night, adding that at no time did he have anything to drink at her flat.

The man added that the only time that he had drunk with Mary McLeod was in public houses.

However, the police said that at that stage they were aware of the finger impressions that were found on the bottles and cautioned the man saying that they were going to detain him for the murder of Mary McLeod, pending further enquiries.  When they said that, the man said, 'I have made my statement. That is correct. I could not have been there when the murder took place. When was it?'. The policeman that was questioning the man said, 'I don't know', and said that the man then went on to say, 'I was told it was Saturday. I have not seen her for over a fortnight'.

Later, on 31 July 1942, at about 6pm, the man called for the CID Chief and said that he wanted to make another statement. He said, 'I want to make another statement to you about my movements. I've got it all 'pat' now'. He was then cautioned and taken to a waiting room where another statement from him was taken. However, his new statement was a replica of his previous statement regarding his movements from 10.30pm on 24 July 1942 until 10pm on 26 July 1942. In the second statement, he still denied being in the Aldgate area during the time of the murder, which was at the time being assume took place at about 2.30am on 26 July 1942. It was noted that at no time did he suggest that he had been in the White Heart public house with Mary McLeod or the other women when the bottles were purchased and seemed to avoid the White Heart public house in all of his statements.

When the police spoke to the couple that lived at 9 Rhodes Street, Holloway they said that the wife said that the man had arrived at her house on the Friday 24 July 1942 between 11.30pm and 12 midnight and said that he remained there until between 10.30pm and 11pm on the Sunday 26 July 1942. She said that when he arrived, he was sober and alone. She said that she knew that he had a lady friend who she said she thought was his wife and said that she was certain that they were both at her house when the murder took place. However, when her statement was read out to her, she refused to sign it.

When the police spoke to the woman's husband, who was a private in the corps of Military Police, he said that the man and his wife, the other woman, arrived at his house on the early part of the evening of 24 July 1942 and that they had all later gone out to the Queens public house in Caledonian Road, N7 and the Distillery public house near King's Cross, drinking. He said that after the pubs closed, they all went back to 9 Rhodes Street where the man and the woman stayed the night. He further stated that the man and woman both stayed in his company until 1pm on the Sunday 26 July 1942 when he said that they left him and his wife in the Montrose public house after which he and his wife went home.

The police report noted that both the husband and wife from 9 Rhodes Street had since come back to the Commercial Street police station to make further statements in which the police said they endeavoured to cover up the discrepancies that they had made in their original statements.

The police noted that when they interviewed the two daughters of the couple at 9 Rhodes Street, a 15-year-old and a 12-year-old, they both said that they had not seen the man and woman at their house before 10am on Sunday 26 July 1942 when they got up for breakfast. They also said that they were not aware that the man and woman had slept at their house and said that they were both definite that neither of them were there when they went to bed at 10pm on the Saturday 25 July 1942.

The police said that when they went to the Queens Arms and spoke to two barmen there, they said that the woman from 9 Rhodes Street had been in the pub at about 8pm on 25 July 1942, and that a man and a woman answering the description of the man and woman that had said they had spent the weekend at 9 Rhodes Street were also with them. However, they were unable to state definitely that the man tried and the woman were the couple they had seen in the pub with the couple from 9 Rhodes Street. One of the barmen also said that he had seen the wife from 9 Rhodes Street in the Queens Arms public house on the Sunday 26 July 1942 at about 1pm with the man and woman.

However, an identification parade was held on 1 August 1942 at the Commercial Street police station. The man was put amongst ten other men of similar age and height and appearance and he was identified by the landlord and landlady of the White Heart public house as well as the barmaid there as being the man that they had seen in the pub on the night of 25 July 1942 in the company of Mary McLeod when the two bottles of beer were purchased. It was also noted that in order to definitely identify Mary McLeod as the woman that the landlady had seen in the White Heart public house that evening, she went along to the Poplar Mortuary where she identified her body as the woman she had seen there with the man.

He was also identified by the woman that lived in 5 Fleur-de-Lis Buildings who said that she had seen him in the Three Tuns public house on the evening of 25 July 1942 although she was unable to identify him as the man that she had seen going up the stairs with Mary McLeod later that night.

The man was also identified by another woman as a man that she had seen in Mary McLeod's company on many occasions.

When the police summed the case up they noted that there was no doubt that most of the people that had been involved in the case, the friends of Mary McLeod and the woman from 9 Rhodes Street and the man and his friends were all persons of known bad character who solicited prostitution and who most of had been convicted of larceny-person from merchant seamen and foreigners who visited the Aldgate district.

In particular, they noted that the man that was tried, had 7 convictions for larceny, assault on police and one for assault on a female. It was noted that he had been a resident of Rowton House in Fieldgate Street, E1, for some years and had on and off supplemented his income as a labourer. It was noted that at the time of his arrest he had been unemployed and in receipt of 7/- a week sick benefit. The police report further stated that they were sure that the man had for some considerable time been living on the earnings of the woman that he was friendly with and it was noted that he was looked upon as her man friend and found that he would stay with her at various addresses for the purpose of intercourse when he so desired. It was also noted that he had stayed with Mary McLeod before.

The police report stated that the evidence clearly disclosed that the man had been in the company of Mary McLeod on the evening of 25 July 1942 and that he had been present when the two bottles of beer, the one quart and one pint Guinness, were purchased at the White Heart public house sometime between 8pm and 9.30pm on 25 July 1942. The police report then stated that it could only be assumed that he had conveyed the two bottles of beer from the pub to Mary McLeod's flat, which was approximately an eighth of a mile away, leaving them there to be consumed at a later hour.

It was further noted that the woman from 5 Fleur-de-Lis Buildings was certain that she had seen him in the Three Tuns public house with Mary McLeod between 9.15pm and 9.30pm, but although she could not identify him as the man that she had seen going up the stairs with Mary McLeod later that night at 11.45pm when she was at her lavatory, she had stated that that man had been wearing a brown suit, and it was known that the man tried had been wearing a brown suit that evening.

It was then noted that the quart bottle found on Mary McLeod's bedroom floor had the clear finger impressions of the man and that the pint Guinness bottle had had the left thumb print of the man on it. It was further stated that the landlord and landladies evidence from the White Heart public house and that of the barmaid there could not be suggested as being incorrect and stated that there was no doubt that the two bottles found in Mary McLeod's bedroom where the two bottles that were sold to the woman there that evening.

The police report then stated that the man's alibi was in their opinion concocted and arranged before he was arrested. The police report stated that some parts of it were undoubtedly true, for instance, that he had been in the company of the man and wife on the Sunday afternoon 26 July 1942 and also that he might well have been in their company during the afternoon of the Saturday 25 July 1942. The police report also stated that there was not one statement regarding his alibi that was consistent as to the times and movements of the parties during the weekend of 25 and 26 July 1942.

The police report then stated that from all outward appearances, although there was no evidence of it, it appeared that the woman friend of the man, had also been present when Mary McLeod was murdered. The report stated that, 'There does not appear to be any motive for the murder, but as we are dealing with a drunken and filthy prostitute class it can only be assumed that there was a row between the persons present which ended in the death of Mary McLeod'.

It was further noted that some of the witnesses for the prosecution were known prostitutes and undoubtedly unreliable. In particular, it was noted that the woman from 15 Fleur-de-Lis Buildings, who was of the prostitute class, was arrested on Friday 21 August 1942 at about 10.45pm and charged at Commercial Street police station with being drunk and incapable. She was subsequently bailed to appear at Old Street Police Court the following day but failed to surrender. However, she surrendered to the charge on 24 August 1942 and when she was questioned by the Magistrate, she said that she had been threatened by two women and a man because she had given evidence in the murder charge. She said that the people had said to her, 'You want an f-----g job going to the police about the murder charge today. You better mind yourself or you might get the same'.

As a result, the Magistrate asked the police to take up the enquiry with a view to preventing the witnesses from being interfered with and they took up observation in the vicinity of Aldgate to prevent a re-occurrence but said that nothing was observed.

The police report into the matter noted that there was no doubt that associates of the man tried and his female friend had been endeavouring to put the fear into the witnesses.

However, at the trial at the Old Bailey, on 22 September 1942, the prosecution offered no evidence against the man and he was acquitted, it was said to have been the first time in the history of the Old Bailey that that had happened. It was heard that when the case opened, the prosecution pointed out that the man on trial for the murder of Mary McLeod had put himself in great peril by lying. They said, 'Knowing that someone had been murdered he did not have the moral courage, when questioned, to say he had been in her company some hours before her death but said he had been in another part of London'. However, they added that he was not being tried for telling lies.

The collapse of the case was described as an unprecedented development.


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


see National Archives - DPP 2/1014, MEPO 3/2229

see Liverpool Echo - Tuesday 22 September 1942