Unsolved Murders

Ellen Ann Short

Age: 22

Sex: female

Date: 29 Jul 1942

Place: Marine Drive, Rottingdean

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Ellen Ann Short was found on her bed dead with a stocking tied around her neck.

Her fiance later jumped off a 200ft cliff at Peacehaven as police approached him.

There was a double inquest which concluded that the fiance had murdered her before committing suicide whilst the balance of his mind was disturbed.

It was heard that the fiance had returned from home on leave to find that Ellen Short had been associating with a Canadian soldier.

Ellen Short was last seen alive at 8.30pm.

On 29 July 1942, Ellen Short's father returned home at about 9pm and called upstairs to Ellen Short who answered him. Then, forty minutes later at 9.40pm the phone rang and the fiance told him not to go upstairs as something had happened. The father said that when he then went upstairs, he found Ellen Short dead on the bed with a silk stocking round her neck.

Ellen Short's fiance had been a naval petty officer and had previously been at sea for six months before returning on leave.

Ellen Short was also known as Nellie.

It was heard that when Ellen Short's fiance came home he found out that the Canadian soldier was on the scene. At the inquest, a letter that the fiance wrote to the soldier was read out, 'I guess you will be very surprised to hear from me, but I think we have a few things to settle between us. The first thing I must tell you is that Nellie means more than anything else in the world'.

It was heard that later on the Wednesday the fiance called at Ellen Short's house to find that the Canadian soldier was there, and for a while they were all there together. However, the Canadian soldier was said to have then left, leaving Ellen Short, the fiance and Ellen Short's younger sister alone in the house. It was noted that at that time Ellen Short's parents had been out of the house.

The younger daughter said that she later heard sounds of quarrelling and that when Ellen Short went upstairs to get ready to go out her fiance followed her.

The younger daughter said that 20 minutes later the phone rang and she recognised the voice as that of the fiance. She said that her father, who had by then returned then took the phone and after speaking to the fiance went upstairs to find Ellen Short dead.


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


see Dundee Evening Telegraph - Thursday 30 July 1942

see Dundee Courier - Thursday 06 August 1942

see Lincolnshire Echo - Thursday 30 July 1942

see Western Daily Press - Saturday 01 August 1942

see Nottingham Evening Post - Friday 31 July 1942, p1

see Manchester Evening News - Wednesday 05 August 1942

see Belfast Telegraph - Friday 31 July 1942

see Shields Daily News - Thursday 30 July 1942

see The Scotsman - Saturday 01 August 1942

see Western Morning News - Friday 31 July 1942

see Aberdeen Press and Journal - Saturday 01 August 1942

see Evening Despatch - Thursday 30 July 1942