Unsolved Murders

Charlotte M Roberts

Age: 65

Sex: female

Date: 15 Nov 1940

Place: 499 Stapleton Road, Bristol

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Charlotte M Roberts was found dead in her boarding house on Friday 15 November 1940.

Her head had been battered in with a flat iron. A blood-stained flat iron was found in an outhouse the following day.

Her body was found by a window cleaner who had seen her body through the scullery window at about 2.30pm. He said that he saw her legs protruding from beneath a table. After seeing her lying on the floor through the window the window cleaner went off for the police.

A doctor and a pathologist at Bristol General Hospital said that he was called out and arrived at 499 Stapleton Road on 15 November 1940 at about 3.30pm to find Charlotte Roberts dead in the kitchen lying on the floor. He said that there was blood beneath her head, and that near her body there was a saucepan.

The doctor said that when he carried out her post-mortem, he found extreme laceration to her left ear with fracture of the bone beneath. He said that her left cheek bone was also fractured and that there was a deep scalp wound to the back of her head and that beneath that there was a small triangular punched -out fracture of the occipital bone. He added that there was also extensive fracture of the base of her skull, meningeal haemorrhage and laceration of her brain. He noted that all of her other organs were healthy.

The doctor said that her cause of death was haemorrhage and shock following multiple fractures of the skull and added that her injuries could not have been self-inflicted.

When the saucepan and flat-iron were examined, it was found that the saucepan had certain blood-stains on it that were of the same group as Charlotte Roberts, however, it was said that similar chemical and microscopic analysis of the flat-iron was not possible as it was assumed that the flat-iron had been in used shortly prior to its use as a weapon to kill Charlotte Roberts and that the heat had made such examination impossible. However, the doctor said that the heel of the flat-iron fitted with the punctured skull fracture perfectly.

The police said that they were interested in finding a man that had called at her house, 499 Stapleton Road, on the Friday 15 November 1940 between 12pm and 12.30pm inquiring after a room. The police said that the man was about 34-years-old, had a very thin build and was about 5ft 10in tall. He had been wearing a fawn raincoat, blue trousers and a trilby hat. The police also stated that he was 'abrupt in his speech'. He was said to have called at another house in Stapleton Road seeking rooms about two hours before Charlotte Roberts's body was found, and to have left immediately.

During the police investigation it was said that Charlotte Roberts was first thought to have been a widow, but it was later found that her husband might still have been alive. The police said that the last that was heard of the husband was that he had been employed in Guernsey as a greenhouse foreman. It was said that Charlotte Roberts had left him about seventeen years earlier. However, it was thought that he might have come over from Guernsey recently with other evacuees. It was said that at the time he would have been about 64-years old.

At the inquest however, on 4 January 1930, the police said that they been unable to ascertain whether anyone was definitely mixed up in the affair and that their inquiries had been fruitless.

Her inquest returned a verdict of murder against some person or persons unknown.


see Western Daily Press - Saturday 04 January 1941

see Birmingham Daily Gazette - Monday 18 November 1940

see Western Daily Press - Saturday 04 January 1941

see Western Daily Press - Saturday 16 November 1940

see Express and Echo - Saturday 16 November 1940

see Western Daily Press - Tuesday 19 November 1940

see Evening Despatch - Saturday 04 January 1941

see Birmingham Mail - Saturday 16 November 1940

see Western Daily Press - Thursday 21 November 1940

see Aberdeen Press and Journal - Thursday 21 November 1940

see Aberdeen Press and Journal - Saturday 04 January 1941