Date: 16 Nov 1940
Minnie Stott was found strangled in a garage yard in the centre of Bolton on Saturday night, 16 November 1940, around midnight.
At her inquest, the Coroner said that there was no actual evidence of murder and an open verdict was returned.
She was a grocery shop manageress and had lived on Clarence Street in Bolton.
Minnie Stott had come home from work at 6.40pm and then left her home again at about 7.45pm, telling her mother that she was going to the cinema. She then went to see her mother at about 8pm at a restaurant where she worked and told her that she was going to the pictures.
She was found four hours later in the yard off Bradshawgate, a main street in Bolton, at about 11.53pm. It was thought that she had been murdered at about 10pm.
The police said that they were trying to bridge the gap between 8pm and 10pm regarding her movements, noting that they did not know what she had done during that time or where she had been.
Her body was found by a policeman using his lamp who said that she was face down on the ground. Her clothes were disarranged and it was said that she had apparently been outraged although it was also said that there was no sign of a struggle. However, it was also heard that her upper lip was swollen, as if by a blow. It was suggested that even if she had cried out, she would probably not have been heard over the noise of the busy road junction about 20 yards away.
Her post-mortem showed that she had probably been killed with a cord or a thin scarf. A police surgeon said that there was a long red mark around her neck, but no marks of manual pressure. He said that her cause of death was asphyxia due to strangulation by ligature.
It was thought that she had been murdered at about the same time that people would have been leaving the cinema near the yard.
The police initially focussed their attention on a soldier that Minnie Stott had been seen with on the Thursday at about 9.30pm, two days before her murder in a fish and chip bar in Bridge Street beside the local Palais de Danse. Minnie Stott had recently taken up dancing and had gone to a local dance hall with another girl on the Thursday night where she had met the soldier who had at the time been in civilian clothes. It was heard that the soldier had earlier invited Minnie Stott and her friend to a public-house where they had each had a glass of sherry with him before going off to the Palais de Danse at about 10pm. Minnie Stott had arrived home that night shortly after 10.30pm. However, the soldier was later identified and found to have an alibi and was released by the police and allowed to go back to his unit.
It was noted that Minnie Stott was tall for her age and had the appearance of a girl aged 18 or 19.
The newspaper reports noted that Minnie Stott's murder was very similar to the murder of Mary Hagan who was also strangled on a Saturday night a few weeks earlier in Liverpool.
It was reported that after hearing of the murder of Mary Hagan, Minnie Stott's mother had spoken to her about it and had advised her not to ever allow herself to be drawn into conversation with strangers.
Samuel Morgan was later convicted for the murder of Mary Hagan and executed on 9 April 1941. He had raped and strangled her.
It was reported that on 12 January 1941, between 4.30pm and 4.45pm, a woman had spoken to Minnie Stott's parents at a bus stop after they had been to see her grave in Heaton Cemetery, and told them that she had seen Minnie Stott in the company of two girls on the night, one of whom she named. The woman told Minnie Stott's parents that when Minnie Stott and the girls had left a cafe in Bradshawgate, they had been followed by two young men, one of whom she named, and that they got Minnie Stott into a car, but that one of the other girls had run away.
However, the police noted that although they had carried out extensive enquiries, the woman could not be traced and had not come forward, and that they had also been unable to trace the two people that she had named. The Coroner added, 'It appears now that she made a very wicked and senseless statement'.
Minnie Stott was known to her friends as Peggy. She was an only child.
see Daily Mirror - Monday 18 November 1940
see Daily Mirror - Monday 18 November 1940
see Manchester Evening News - Monday 20 January 1941
see Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Monday 18 November 1940
see Manchester Evening News - Monday 18 November 1940
see Western Daily Press - Monday 18 November 1940
see Manchester Evening News - Thursday 06 March 1941
see Liverpool Daily Post - Monday 18 November 1940
see Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Wednesday 20 November 1940
see The Sun