Unsolved Murders

Child B

Age: 9

Sex: female

Date: 2 Mar 1954

Place: High Street, Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire

Mrs B Mole and her three grandchildren, a Girl 9, Girl 8 and a 3-month-old Twin were found dead in a flat.

It was thought that they might have been poisoned with nicotine. However, the pathologist that carried out preliminary examinations of the bodies had ruled out murder and it was first reported that the cause of death was coal gas poisoning, with the police saying that they had found that the gas fire, which was found burning, had a leak in it. It was later reported, 'Police have eliminated gassing as the cause of the deaths. A gas light in the room was turned on, but it was alight when they arrived and there was no sign of escaping gas. So far no marks of violence have been found on the bodies'.

They were found dead in the flat which was over a china shop in High Street, Waltham Cross on Tuesday 2 March 1954.The children’s mother and a fourth child, who were found alive, were taken to Chase Farm Hospital in Enfield in a serious condition where they recovered. The mother had four children, all girls, one aged 9, another 8 and two twins who had been born on Christmas Eve 1953. One of the Twins was the child that had survived.

It was later reported that the police from Scotland Yard were conducting their investigations on the lines that the women and children had been murdered and that they were investigating the possibility of nicotine poisoning.

The police said that it was a mystery how they had died. It was first reported that they had been gassed, but that theory was soon ruled out by the police who said that they were considering some other form of poisoning. It was noted that a gas fire was found to be burning in the room that they were found in and it was first thought that it had been burning all night and that they had died from the fumes.

The police were called to the flat, which was a council-requisitioned flat, after neighbours reported that they had not seen any of the family. The neighbour said that an aunt from Swnanfield Road in Waltham Cross had been living with the family and that each morning she had been heard to slam a door on her way to work, but that that had not happened the day before the bodies were discovered.

The three dead children were found in a bed in a back room in their nightclothes along with their mother, who survived and who was fully dressed.

It was found that all the women and children had had the stains of burns around their mouths as well as foaming at the mouth, which was said to have been consistent with nicotine poisoning.

After the bodies were found a pathologist was called out to examine them along with a police photographer who took photographs.

The police said that the fact that one of the twins had survived indicated that the deaths had occurred later than the previous evening, despite the fact that neighbours said that they had not heard anything of the family for all the previous day.

The mother, who survived, had moved into the flat above the china shop 18 months earlier from a council house in Bury Green, Chesthunt. It was thought that she had been living apart from her husband who was a fireman and who lived in Ponder's End in Middlesex and who also worked part-time as a butcher in Waltham Cross High Street. The manager of the butcher's shop said that the mother and children used to come into the shop quite often, noting that she was always smartly dressed. He added that she had come in only a few days previous to the incident with her children, the twins being in a pram. The butcher noted that the mother's husband had worked in his butcher's shop for about two years but had not been to the shop for about a week.

The woman who worked in the china shop below the flat said that she had not seen the family for two days. She said that there was a perambulator on the landing outside the flat and that she had not seen lights on in the flat since the Sunday.

The deaths were all reported on 2 March 1954 in multiple newspapers, but there are no further news reports of the incident, including follow up reports or inquest reports and nothing more is known.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Coventry Evening Telegraph - Tuesday 02 March 1954

see Shields Daily News - Tuesday 02 March 1954