Unsolved Murders

William Alexander Dovener

Age: 60

Sex: male

Date: 5 Aug 1940

Place: Barking Road, Plaistow, London

Source: www.plymouthherald.co.uk

William Alexander Dovener was found dead on his bed at his top flat with a head injury.

He was found with a head injury that was at first thought could not have been self-inflicted and it was said that foul play could not be ruled out. However, his post-mortem stated that he died from natural causes, with his cause of death being given as heart disease. The pathologist said that he could have died from his heart condition at any moment.

When he was found, he was partly clothed in a disordered room in which was a collection of women's clothing, however, it could not be determined who owned the women's clothes. His landlady said that she had never known William Dovener to have any associations with women and was greatly surprised to see the collection of women's clothes.

In his bedroom three chests of drawers were open and at the foot of his bed a woman's silk blouse, a flowered frock, some silk stockings and women's underclothes were found.

It was also found that William Dovener had a necktie wrapped loosely round his ankles and a knotted tie round his left wrist that had been knotted but which when found was broken open. His shirt and undervest were torn at the chest.

He also had a bruise over his left eye.

His empty wallet, driving licence and identification card were found on the floor. No money was found in his flat other then 15s 6d that was found in a drawer under some brown paper.

Just prior to William Dovener being found dead, at about 1am on the Monday, a man was seen to leave his house who on the way out said, 'I have just been upstairs to see my uncle'. However, the man was not traced.

When the Coroner returned the verdict, he said that the man seen leaving the house had probably gone in and seen William Dovener dead and to have then panicked and left and added that there was no suggestion of any offence having been committed.

His neighbours said that William Dovener was very quiet and that he spent most of his time sitting in his window looking out over the road. It was noted that his face had been badly scarred in a motor smash some years before and that he was rather sensitive about it.

It was said that he lived alone but that a younger man, thought to be his nephew occasionally stayed with him.

He was the former manager of West Ham speedway, having held that position in 1934. He had recently been working as a salesman and assistant in a motor showroom. In his earlier years he had been a leading personality in Yorkshire motor cycling circles. He had also been the secretary of the Bradford Motor-Cycle Club before he had moved to London and had organised many of the earlier Scott trials.

He had also recently held a position with the Ministry of Food but had lost his position because he did not want to evacuate.


see The Scotsman - Tuesday 06 August 1940, p5

see Yorkshire Evening Post - Tuesday 06 August 1940

see Dundee Courier - Tuesday 06 August 1940

see Daily Mirror - Tuesday 06 August 1940