Date: 28 Jun 1940
Aurelie Maria Yankovic was found dead in the River Thames just off Albert Wharf in Hammersmith on 28 June 1940.
She had been strangled and a verdict of 'Murder by some person or persons unknown' was returned at her inquest on 22 August 1940.
She was a Jugo-Slav domestic that had come to the United Kingdom on 19 November 1934. At the time of her murder she had been working for a woman at 200 Sloane Street in London. The house was the home of a retired Belgian Army officer. She had started work there on 23 May 1940.
The woman that Aurelie Yankovic had been working for said that Aurelie Yankovic had told her that she was going to get married although she never mentioned the name of the man. She said that on 25 June 1940, Aurelie Yankovic had been depressed and crying and had told her that she was going to see a doctor, however, she never returned to the house.
The woman also said that Aurelie Yankovic had appeared very strange mentally and used to imagine things, saying that she used to think that she was the most miserable person on earth.
The mistress said that she made arrangements for Aurelie Yankovic to see a doctor on Sunday 23 May 1940 and said that Aurelie Yankovic had that day off. She said that she asked Aurelie Yankovic if she wanted her to go into London to see the doctor with her but said that Aurelie Yankovic decided not to go in the end.
However, the mistress said that the following day Aurelie Yankovic came to her and told her that she had spent the night in the coal cellar. The mistress said that she formed the opinion that Aurelie Yankovic had also spent the following night in the coal cellar.
It was the following day that Aurelie Yankovic left the house for the last time. The mistress said that after Aurelie Yankovic failed to return on 26 June 1940, she went to the police station to report her as missing.
A doctor said that Aurelie Yankovic had told her that she had known a man in town who wanted her to love him but said that she could not return his affection. However, Aurelie Yankovic told the doctor that the man had hypnotised her so much that she had been forced to make repeated journeys to town.
The doctor said that she thought that Aurelie Yankovic was suffering from delusions of persecution and advised her to attend a psychological department of a hospital.
The doctor said that Aurelie Yankovic had also complained of a pain over her heart.
Aurelie Yankovic's body was found on Tuesday 25 June 1940 at about 10.12pm by an engineer. He said that he had finished work at about 9.30pm and was later walking home passed Putney station and over Putney Bridge on the Hammersmith side when he saw something floating in the river. He said that he first thought that it was a swan. He said that he then saw a case on a seat by the parapet which he took, saying that he did that with the object of handing it in to a police officer, but said that he didn't see one and so he handed it into a police station the next morning.
The doctor that carried out the post-mortem said that Aurelie Yankovic had died from manual strangulation before her body had entered the water and that his findings were consistent with a homicidal attack. He said that Aurelie Yankovic had a number of bruises on her neck which suggested the tight and maintained pressure of two thumbs over her windpipe and concluded that they were the marks of manual strangulation or attempted manual strangulation inflicted from the front. He said that she also had a second group of injuries on her shoulder on either side which were consistent with equally tight and maintained pressure.
The doctor said that he was of the opinion that it would have been quite impossible for Aurelie Yankovic to have caused the injuries herself because there were indications that the pressure had been maintained beyond the time that she would have retained consciousness.
He said that there were also other bruises on her body that suggested that Aurelie Yankovic had been pressed against a wall during the course of her strangulation.
He added that there was no evidence of any sexual assault.
The police said that they had made exhaustive enquiries but had been unable to associate anyone with Aurelie Yankovic's death.
Records indicated that Aurelie Yankovic had been born in Vienna in 1902.
see Nottingham Evening Post - Thursday 22 August 1940
see Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail - Thursday 22 August 1940
see Chelsea News and General Advertiser - Friday 09 August 1940
see Dundee Evening Telegraph - Friday 23 August 1940
see Derby Daily Telegraph - Thursday 22 August 1940
see Birmingham Mail - Thursday 22 August 1940