Unsolved Murders

Jean McKenna

Age: 34

Sex: female

Date: 25 Sep 1954

Place: Clifton, Penrith, Cumbria

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Jean McKenna was found dead on the main London to Glasgow railway line near Clifton, Penrith at 7am on the Saturday, 25 September 1954.

A verdict of accidental death was recorded after it was said that she had fallen out of a moving train.

She had lived in Crimea Street in Glasgow and was married but separated from her husband who had last seen her six weeks earlier at which time she had been in good health.

Her body was found by the driver of a goods train that was passing along the line near Clifton who then informed the next signalman who then told the police.

When the police arrived they found that she had serious head injuries and was dead.

It was thought that she had been on a Glasgow to Morecambe holiday special train that had passed along the line between 4am and 5am on the Saturday.

At her inquest it was heard that the man that she had gone with had continued on with his holiday without Jean McKenna, stating that he was going to have his holiday with or without her and he refused to go and identify her body. The Coroner described the man's attitude as being 'entirely callous'. The man that she had gone with had also lived in Crimea Street and had been a warehouseman.

The Coroner said, 'He was asked to come to Appleby on the following day to identify the body and had he done so he would have saved my officers a considerable amount of trouble. Instead of that he chose to get drunk. He had gone on a holiday, and he was going to have his holiday whether Mrs McKenna was dead or not'.

When the warehouseman gave evidence he admitted that his attitude might have been considered callous, but said that he did not realise that at the time. He said that he was 'all mixed up' after hearing the news of Jean McKenna and had had some drink.

He said that they had both been drinking in Glasgow and also on the train to Morecambe and that he fell asleep on the train and that when he was later woken up he was told that Jean McKenna was missing. It was noted that a train door was later found open.

A railway official said that the door could not have been opened in any way other than someone dropping the window and turning the handle from the outside.


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


see Newcastle Journal - Wednesday 06 October 1954

see Penrith Observer - Tuesday 28 September 1954