Unsolved Murders

Edna May Chesterton

Age: 57

Sex: female

Date: 29 Nov 1951

Place: James Street, Chatham, Kent

Edna May Chesterton was found dead on some wasteland in the centre of Chatham on the morning of 30 November 1951.

Her body was found by a man as he was on his way to work after he first saw some bloodstained clothing in Richard Street after which he found her body. She was unclothed except for her shoes and stockings and had a pink slip covering her face. Clothing found included underclothing and a fur stole.

It was thought that she had been battered about the head and strangled on the night of 29 November 1951. It was reported that her head injuries were thought to have been caused by her murderer's fists and the police asked laundries to look out for bloodstained clothing.

She was last seen in the Stag and Hounds public house at 10.30pm on the Thursday night. The wife of the licensee at the Stag and Hounds said that she had seen Edna Chesterton in the pub drinking with a local man until about 10.30pm when she left. It was noted that the local man was traced, but had been unable to assist the police in their enquiries.

It was said that Edna Chesterton was often seen in the company of sailors.

It was thought that she had been attacked in the doorway at the rear of a sailors' hostel and that her body was then dragged across the roadway to the waste ground. The police said that bloodstains at the scene of the attack led them to believe that her murderer must have had some evidence of blood on them.

The police later said that they had received reports of a young woman being seen near the piece of waste ground about an hour before Edna Chesterton was murdered and appealed for her to come forward. She was described as being in her early 20's and wearing a belted three-quarter length fawn coat and was hatless. The police noted that although they did not believe that she had any direct connection with the murder, they thought that she might be able to give valuable assistance. She was said to have been weeping.

In the search for her murderer, the police visited hundreds of lodging houses, cafes and small restaurants around the Chatham area. They also took statements from thousands of Navy men in Chatham and police dogs were also used shortly after her body was found to follow any scents.

She had lived in The Mount in Chatham and was well known locally. She had married seventeen years earlier but had not lived with her husband for the previous six or seven years.

She was known as 'Old Edna'.

Her burial took place on Thursday 6 December 1951 in Chatham in secret.

Her inquest, which concluded on Wednesday 19 December 1951, returned a verdict of murder by some person or persons unknown.

When the coroner summed up, he said that he thought that it was reasonable to assume that Edna Chesterton had been struck in the mouth, dragged across to the waste ground and then strangled.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Almany

see Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail - Saturday 01 December 1951

see Aberdeen Evening Express - Saturday 01 December 1951

see Belfast News-Letter - Monday 10 December 1951

see Portsmouth Evening News - Friday 30 November 1951

see Belfast Telegraph - Wednesday 19 December 1951

see Daily Mirror - Monday 10 December 1951

see Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Saturday 01 December 1951

see Birmingham Daily Gazette - Tuesday 04 December 1951

see Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail - Saturday 01 December 1951

see Daily Mirror - Friday 07 December 1951

see Liverpool Echo - Saturday 01 December 1951