Unsolved Murders

Norman Wills

Age: 39

Sex: male

Date: 12 Dec 1952

Place: Lower Lodge, Barton Liskeard, Cornwall

Norman Wills was found dead in a stream on his farm.

He was a farmer and had been in business with his brothers.

At his inquest on 23 January 1953, the pathologist said that he had been strangled and not drowned as it appeared.

When the coroner summed up and addressed the jury, he said, 'I think this is literally the perfect crime'.

His wife said that Norman Wills had been worried after being fined for failing to make a return to the Ministry of Agriculture and that he disappeared the following day. She said that he had  been due to appear before the Liskeard Magistrates to answer a summons for failing to make a return to the Ministry of Agriculture but that he didn't go. She said that the following morning he read in the local newspaper that he had been fined in his absence, but she said that he told her that he was not worried about it, but said that she could see that he was.

She said that he went to bed without any supper and was up at dawn the following day and went out. She said that when he didn't come into breakfast that his two brothers went out to look for him and came back shortly after to say that they had found his body lying face down in a stream in a lonely wood about 650 yards from the farm. One of his brothers said that there had been a trail of footprints running from the farm to the stream that he had followed, noting that there was only one set of prints.

He had been in partnership with two brothers at Lower Lodge, Barton Liskeard and they found him lying dead in 14 inches of the water in the stream.

The pathologist said that he was satisfied that the bruises that he found on him could not have been self-inflicted. He also said that there was no water in his lungs and that he had not drowned and that in his opinion his death had been caused by manual strangulation.

When the coroner summed up he said, 'The whole of the evidence to start with pointed to this man being worried about the proceedings taken against him, yet in the pathologist's opinion his death was caused by someone else. If it is so, then I think this is literally the perfect crime. There has been no suggestion of any reason why anybody else should have strangled Norman Wills. I feel there are possibly some circumstances which we do not know of in which these injuries could have been self-inflicted'.

The jury then returned a verdict of 'Death caused by manual strangulation, not self-inflicted'.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Daily Mirror - Friday 23 January 1953

see Birmingham Daily Gazette - Friday 23 January 1953