Unsolved Murders

Charlotte Donovan

Age: 26

Sex: female

Date: 9 Aug 1940

Place: Searle House, Ocean Street, Stepney, London

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Charlotte Donovan died from shock following interference with pregnancy.

She was found dead with a 30-year-old soldier, who was also her cousin, who had shot himself dead with his service rifle. The inquest on the soldier returned a verdict that he took his life while the balance of his mind was disturbed.

An open verdict was returned on Charlotte Donovan.

The soldier’s father had been knocking at the door to the soldiers flat in Searle House when he heard the shot. When the father forced the door, he found his son lying dead on the floor with his service rifle beside him.

The soldier had separated from his wife and had been living with Charlotte Donovan for some time. At the time of their deaths he had been at home on seven days leave. Two of the soldier’s children were also living with them in the flat at the time, however, shortly before midnight he woke them, kissed them, and sent them to their mother's home. He shot himself a few minutes later.

A neighbour said, 'We were getting ready to go to bed when I heard a noise below. I went down and found the soldiers father outside the door of the flat where the soldier lived. There had been a shot. I went for the police and when we opened the door, he was lying dead inside and she was in the bedroom also dead'.

Another woman that also lived in the block of the flats said, 'An hour before the soldier had been leaning out of a window joking with us'.


see Liverpool Echo - Friday 09 August 1940, p6

see Liverpool Echo - Tuesday 06 August 1940

see Daily Mirror - Wednesday 07 August 1940