Unsolved Murders

Paul Reilly

Age: 6

Sex: male

Date: 8 May 1944

Place: Fox Street Goods Yard, Leicester

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Peter Wilcox and Paul Reilly were found dead in a railway locker in a disused railway parcels delivery van on a siding’s platform next to the Leicester LMS main station.

It was found that the hasp of a padlock on the locker that formed part of the driver's seat had been passed over the staple making it impossible for them to have opened the locker from the inside.

They had gone missing on the Sunday evening 30 April 1944 and during the initial search the cab of the van had been looked into, but they were not seen. They were later found on 8 May 1944 by a lorry driver who, whilst waiting o the platform, casually lifted the lid of the locker.

It was thought that they might have squeezed themselves into the locker whilst playing, having either lowered the lid or the lid having fallen shut whilst they were in it. It was thought that when the lid had shut, the hasp had then fallen over the staple and they were imprisoned.

The locker was 29 1/2 inches by 13 inches and 20 inches deep.

It was noted that mail was being loaded from the platform on which the van was standing the whole while that the boys had been missing and that hundreds of railway workers and Post Office staff would have passed within touching distance of it during that time. The railway sidings had also been combed by the LMS police who had also searched trucks, horse-boxes and carriages.

During the search for them static water tanks were dredged and cellars in factories near their homes were visited.

They had both lived in Peel Street.

The case was compared in the newspapers to the tragedy of the ballad of 'The Mistletoe Bough', an old song, in which the daughter of a Lord Lovell, on her wedding day, was playing hide and seek and chose an old oak chest to hide in. However, the ballad states that the chest had a spring lock that left her imprisoned in it and her skeleton was not discovered for many years afterwards.

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

see Birmingham Mail - Monday 08 May 1944

see Evening Despatch - Friday 05 May 1944

see Dundee Evening Telegraph - Monday 08 May 1944

see Aberdeen Press and Journal - Tuesday 09 May 1944