Unsolved Murders

Fanny Tinker

Age: 70

Sex: female

Date: 23 Oct 1951

Place: Stowell Farm Cottages, West Stowell, Pewsey, Wiltshire

Source: discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Fanny Tinker was found dead in her thatched cottage in West Stowell on 23 October 1951.

A 30-year-old farm labourer suspected of her murder was later found hanging from a tree by a piece of rope on the night of Thursday 15 November 1951 in a copse on the same estate as Fanny Tinker's cottage was on. He was found in the upper branches of the tree. After its discovery the police stood guard over the body all night until the pathologist could examine it.

Fanny Tinker was found injured in her cottage by her 74-year-old husband when he returned after milking some cows at a farm and died an hour later.

A doctor said that her death was due to blows with a blunt instrument to the head. She had also been criminally assaulted. It was reported that she had been attacked in her bedroom with a stick and a poker.

Following the discovery of her body, a search was made for the farm labourer that was suspected of her murder after it was found that he had gone missing from his home on the same day of Fanny Tinker's murder. The search was carried out by 500 soldiers, 100 policemen and 20 foresters. Dogs were also used in the search, with the police using an Alsatian called Mac from T Division of the Metropolitan Police. It was said that it was the first time that the Metropolitan Police had been asked to bring their dogs outside of the Metropolitan area. Planes were also used during the search.

The search had covered the 1,100-acre West Woods in Manton near Marlborough which were three miles from Fanny Tinker's cottage.

The hunt for the man was described as being nationwide.

The man was described as being 5ft 7in tall, with a fresh complexion, black hair, brown eyes and having been wearing a blue chalk striped jacket, brown trousers and shoes. He was also said to have had a distinctive scar over his left eye and on his left wrist.

After the farm labourer's body was found his identification was made by his fingerprints and by the clothes he had been wearing which were said to have been similar to the ones that he was seen wearing when he was last seen. He was further identified by scars on his forehead and left wrist, but it was said that his facial features were too decomposed to help with identification.

His body was found on the night of Thursday 16 November 1951 by a man who lived in Alton Road, Wilcot who had been out collecting wood with his 22-year-old son.

Fanny Tinker left £191 in her will.


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


see National Archives - MEPO 3/2311 (refernce only)

see Aberdeen Evening Express - Friday 16 November 1951

see Wiltshire Times and Trowbridge Advertiser - Saturday 24 November 1951

see Birmingham Daily Gazette - Friday 16 November 1951

see Birmingham Daily Gazette - Thursday 25 October 1951

see Belfast Telegraph - Friday 26 October 1951

see Coventry Evening Telegraph - Friday 16 November 1951

see Belfast News-Letter - Thursday 25 October 1951

see Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Friday 16 November 1951