Unsolved Murders

Alice King

Age: 42

Sex: female

Date: 22 Jul 1942

Place: Grand Union Canal, Wedlake

Alice King was found dead in the Grand Union Canal near the Wedlake footbridge off Harrow Road with extensive injuries on 22 July 1942.

A doctor who was called to the scene said that when he examined her body after it was removed from the canal, he found that she had extensive injuries and thought that she had been in the water for about two or three days.

The police said that they were visiting garages in the London area that were used by service vehicles.

It was reported that it was thought that she might have been knocked down and killed by a service vehicle and then dumped in the canal.

A park keeper at Wormwood Scrubs said that he had seen Alice King on 15 July 1942 soliciting men.

She had also been seen by a barmaid at the Pavilion Hotel in Scrubs Lane on 15 July 1942. The barmaid said that she knew Alice King as a customer at the hotel. She said that when she last saw her there on 15 July, she had two black eyes. She said that Alice King was never sober but added that she was never quarrelsome.

After the police took her fingerprints, they said that Alice King had been known to them since 1921 as Alice Cunningham and that she had been born in Ireland. She was also reported as being known as Lily Cunningham.

A man employed on a tugboat on the Grand Union Canal said that on 22 July 1942 he had been travelling from Kensal Green to Paddington when he had felt some obstruction and then saw what he thought to be a body in the water. However, he said that he didn't report the matter as he saw a police boat going towards the spot.

When Alice King was pulled out she had been wearing a blue crepe dress, without sleeves, and brown art silk stockings.

A police chief inspector said that on 24 July 1942, he made a search with other policemen of the canal bank and found Alice King's hat, coat and other articles of clothing lying in some tall grass about half a mile from where Alice King's body was found.

When the pathologist examined her body, he said that she had extensive injuries, including internal injuries, a fractured skull, broken ribs, and a fractured thigh, and that it was very clear that she had not died from drowning, and added that most of her injuries had been caused before her death and that she had then been placed in the canal.

He said that her cause of death was shock from multiple injuries.

He agreed that some of her injuries might have been caused by her body coming into contact with the propeller of a tugboat, but that most of her injuries might have been due to crushing, as if a boat had passed over her body.

*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see West London Observer - Friday 07 August 1942, p5

see Daily Mirror - Friday 24 July 1942