Unsolved Murders

George Berry

Age: 37

Sex: male

Date: 14 Jul 1944

Place: Dodford Grange

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

George Berry was found dead under a lorry on the London to Birmingham Road at Dodford Grange.

George Berry was married with two children and was employed as a lorry driver.

A 64-year-old lorry driver said that he had been driving along when he passed a lorry that had its rear in a ditch and that further along he saw another lorry that he thought was parked and that when he got closer he saw a man's legs protruding from under it towards the centre of the road.

The 64-year-old lorry driver said that when he examined the man, he found that he was dead. He then spoke to another lorry driver who went to call the police and then heard the lorry driver in the lorry in the ditch calling out and went back to find that he was trapped.

The driver of the lorry that ended up in the ditch said that he had been driving along the road, having passed the Queen's Head public house at about 2.45am when a red lorry overtook him. He said that after it passed him, the red lorry swerved, and he hit it. He said that he was trapped in his cab and then let his lorry roll back, but that his brakes were damaged from the collision and he rolled back into a hedge and into a ditch. He said that when another lorry driver helped him get out of his cab that he saw George Berry under the front of his lorry further along the road but could not imagine how he got there.

When the police arrived, neither lorry had been moved and they were both determined to be about 30 yards apart.

They said that George Berry's lorry had its nearside front wheel about nine inches over the footpath and that his lorry had a large burst in the tyre. The police noted that the rear wheel of George Berry's lorry was pressed tightly to the kerb. The police said that George Berry's body was on the right-hand side, about midway between the front and rear, with his legs almost at right angles to the lorry.

George Berry was found to have severe head injuries and a large tear to the right shoulder of his overalls.

A hydraulic jack was found in the road and both cab doors were shut and all the lights on his lorry had been showing. George Berry's lorry was found to be in gear with the hand brake tightly applied.

Splintered wood at the back of George Berry's lorry suggested the force of an impact, and it was noted that the other lorry that ended up in the ditch had frontal damage, but that neither lorry had bloodstains on it.

The police said that as a result of their investigations that they thought that another vehicle must have been involved. They noted that they did speak to another lorry driver at 5am that morning but said that they were unable to link him or his lorry to the incident.

When the doctors examined George Berry's body, they said that he had no gross injuries below his collar bone but said that his right collarbone was broken and that there was a good deal of blood about his head, face and neck, most of which he said had come from his ear. The doctor said that he formed the view that George Berry had received a severe blow on the right side of his head, neck and face and that his death was due to laceration of the brain from a fractured base of the skull. He added that he thought that George Berry's injuries were sustained whilst his body was prone.

The inquest returned a verdict that his head injuries were accidently sustained but that precisely how they were caused, no one knew.

George Berry had worked for Messrs AH Barlow in Manchester.

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

see Northampton Mercury - Friday 04 August 1944