Unsolved Murders

Arthur Elijah Budd

Age: 58

Sex: male

Date: 5 May 1947

Place: Victoria Buildings, Ladbroke Grove, Kensington, London

Arthur Elijah Budd was shot in the abdomen on a landing at a block of flats in Victoria Buildings, Ladbroke Grove, Kensington on 9 September 1946 and died several months later in St. Charles' Hospital on 5 May 1947.

He was shot as he came out of his flat.

His cause of death was given as being due to general peritonitis following conditions resulting from a bullet wound in the abdomen.

No trace of the weapon or the person that shot him were ever discovered.

He had been a GWR Checker. His wife said that on the morning of 9 September 1946 at about 5.30pm, Arthur Budd had left their second floor flat to go to work and that just afterwards she heard a bang and then heard Arthur Budd calling her. She said that she ran down the stairs and saw Arthur Budd on the first-floor landing lying at the foot of the stairs. She said that he told her that his leg was hurt and so she got her brother and another man to carry him back up to their flat. They then found that he was bleeding from an injury to his left groin.

Arthur Budd said that he had been standing on the landing lighting a cigarette when there was a flash and a bang, and he fell down. He said that he hadn't seen anyone on the stairs as it was dark.

Arthur Budd's wife said that Arthur Budd had been on good terms with everyone and that she had not known anyone who would want to do him an injury, adding that he had never quarrelled with anyone in the buildings. She also said that he had never kept a pistol or a firearm.

The bullet was later extracted from Arthur Budd's abdomen.

Arthur Budd later made a statement in which he said that in the block of flats where he lived there were nine other flats with a common entrance to the street. He said that as he was going down the stairs on the morning of 9 September 1946, he reached the landing between the first floor and the ground floor when he trod on something that seemed to be a round. He said that there was then a bang and a flash and he fell. He said that he thought that the flash had come from the bottom of the stairs.

A gunsmith expert who examined the bullet that had been extracted from Arthur Budd said that the shot had not ricocheted but had been a direct shot which he thought had evidently been fired from a .32 German automatic pistol. He said that from the evidence that the entrance of the bullet wound had been on the front of his body that Arthur Budd must have been facing the bottom of the stairs and that the bullet must have come up the stairs.

He said that he examined the walls at the flat landing and said that he could find nothing to indicate that a booby trap of any kind had been set up that Arthur Budd could have unwittingly operated.

A doctor at St. Charles' Hospital said that the only reference that Arthur Budd made to him about the shooting was that he had thought that he had got something that was meant for somebody else.

A bus conductor who lived on the ground floor at the flats said that he had known Arthur Budd and his wife since the beginning of the war, and said that Arthur Budd had been a quiet man and mixed with very few people and had been well liked by all his workmates.

The police said that they had made all efforts to find the weapon and the person that had fired it, but without result. A detective inspector said that he thought that what might have happened was that someone had been sleeping on the stairs for the night, possibly a deserter, and had been suddenly woken by Arthur Budd and had then fired the shot without realising what he was doing.

The coroner returned an open verdict.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see West London Observer - Friday 16 May 1947