Date: 10 Dec 1940
Doreen Reynolds was found dying in a room at 2 Swan's Quay in Clive Street, North Shields.
She had stab wounds to the face and neck on the Tuesday night 10 December 1940 at about 10.10pm.
She was buried under the name of Doreen Reynolds, but it was suggested that that name might have been an alias and a reason why her relatives could not be traced. It was thought that she was from Glasgow and that her relatives were in Glasgow. It was reported on 13 December 1940 that it was thought that her relatives had been contacted but later on 17 December 1940 it was suggested that she had been using the alias. As such, it seems still unclear whether her relatives had been contacted or whether Doreen Reynolds was her real name.
She was found after a neighbour head a scream. It was thought that she had struggled with her assailant.
The police released the following statement: 'Wanted, for the wilful murder of Doreen Reynolds, 24 years of age, 2, Swan's Quay, North Shields, at about 10.10pm on December 10, a man, name unknown, believed to be English, with North-Country or Tyneside accent, 25 to 30 years, 5ft 6 or 7in, brown or dark hair brushed straight back, thin face, clean shaven, thin build. Wearing a light mackintosh without belt, light coloured trousers or overalls, no hat. The wanted man was seen to enter the house at the above address shortly after 10pm on December 10, in company with the murdered woman, and a few minutes later the woman was heard to scream. The man was then seen to rush out of the house and run away. He was at that time carrying a raincoat over his arm. He may be a seaman. The clothing of the wanted man will probably be bloodstained. Any information should be communicated to the Chief Constable, Criminal Investigation Department, Central Police Station, Saville Street, North Shields, Telephone: North Shields 801'.
Doreen Reynolds was described as being of good physique, dark, with brunette hair, 5ft 4in in height, small in stature and to have had a particular deformity from birth in that the great toe of each of her feet was smaller than the two adjoining toes. she was described generally as a happy person.
It was said that whilst living in the Clive Street area, where she had been for a number of years, Doreen Reynolds had mingled with the cosmopolitan crowd that made up its population. The area was known as The Low Street to sailors around the world and was well-known and popular. Doreen Reynolds was said to have been frequently seen in the Quayside cafes and public houses before they closed which were the haunts of seafarers ashore from their ships lying in the nearby docks.
The area she lived in was close to the riverside with Swan's Quay connecting Clive Street, which was the main Low Town thoroughfare, with a boat landing stage on the river bank. It was said that before the outbreak of war there had been a number of cafes in Clive Street, mainly run by Maltese seamen, that that they had all shut down and had been for some months.
It was heard that Doreen Reynolds had been seen in a local public house sometime before she was murdered in the company of a man. One landlord said that when he saw her at about 9.30pm she had been wearing a fur coat and a red turban. He said that she had been alone and had been drinking a whisky and ginger ale but said that she left after that. He said that she spoke with a marked Scottish accent. The landlord said that whilst Doreen Reynolds had been in the room there had been a few people in there with her and that whilst she had had her drink she had laughed and chatted with them gaily.
The police said that there had initially been a suspicion that a Dutchman had been involved but later said that they had ruled that out.
There were also reports that some bloodstained clothing had been found in a back garden in Gardner Street, but it was noted that no connection with that and the murder had yet been ascertained.
It was also noted that the police were being very reticent regarding the progress of their enquiries.
It was reported on 27 December 1940 that no further developments in the case had been made over the holidays.
see Newcastle Chronicle - Saturday 14 December 1940
see Newcastle Journal - Thursday 12 December 1940
see Shields Daily News - Tuesday 17 December 1940
see Newcastle Evening Chronicle - Wednesday 11 December 1940
see Shields Daily News - Friday 13 December 1940
see Shields Daily News - Friday 27 December 1940
see Shields Daily News - Friday 12 June 1942