Date: 2 Jan 1931
Place: Ebenezer Street, Dewsbury
Margaret Schofield was found dead in an alley in Dewsbury on 2 January 1931.
She was discovered by the manager of Messrs. Lidbetter Sons & Co., Grocers and Provision Merchants, 54 Market Place, Dewsbury.
At about 10.55pm on Friday 2 January 1931 he went to Ebenezer Street (or Back Robinson Street as it was usually called) to try the door to the garage owned by the firm. There were a pair of wooden gates fixed to the entrance to the yard leading to the garage but they were never closed and were usually wide open. However, on that night he found the left half of the gate partly closed. He passed into the yard through the opening in the right side and went to the garage which was about 12 yards down the yard and tried the padlock and then walked back towards the gate. Just as he reached the gate he saw what appeared to be the lower portion of a man or woman naked from the waist to the knees lying just behind the partially closed gate. He said it startled him and he at once rushed into Robinson Street and up Westgate into the market place and informed a policeman who was on duty near the taxi rank.
They went back together and with the aid of the policeman’s lamp they saw the body of Margaret Schofield, her head being covered with bundles of celery tons. However, when they removed the celery tons they thought that she was still alive and she was taken away on a stretcher and put into an ambulance.
The manager said that he had been inspecting the garage for 16 years and said that it was not unusual to find couples in the yard and that the place was resorted by prostitutes.
Margaret Schofield lived at 23 South Woodbine Street, Dewsbury where she had been since 1929 with another woman and the woman’s husband. She was a weaver but had been unemployed for about six months and at the time was drawing 15/- dole. Her landlady described her as a strong healthy woman and said that she usually took a drink of beer. She said that she last saw her go out on the Friday night, 2 January 1931 at 6pm and that was the last time she saw her.
The autopsy stated that she had died from haemorrhage and shock from wounds on her face. Some of the wounds to her face were thought to have been caused by a bottle whilst a wound inside her vagina was thought to have been caused by another implement.
At the scene, they also found a bottle with blood on it and hairs. It was a one-pint bottle labelled R Whitaker & Sons, Brewers, Halifax, Standard stout, Specially brewed for invalids. It contained half a pint of beer and was closed with a screwed-in stopper.
Nearly ten years later in 1941 a man that had been in a pub nearby where Margaret Schofield had also been, confessed to her murder but after he retracted it. However, it was the medical examiners opinion that he was insane when he made it and he was not tried.
see National Archives - DPP 2/876
see Oldest Prof