Unsolved Murders

Derek Crowshaw

Age: 2

Sex: male

Date: 8 Jan 1955

Place: River Trent, Castle Donington, Loughborough

Derek Crowshaw was found dead in the River Trent three months after he vanished.

He had gone missing from his home at 33 Mill End Lane, Alrewas, 19 miles away on 19 October 1954 and his body was later found on a mudbank of the river on 8 January 1955.

It was heard that Derek Crowshaw was last seen whilst playing with some other children on the bank of Pyford Brook, a few yards from his home and that the alarm was next raised after he failed to return home for his dinner and a search was made for him.

Derek Crowshaw's Wellington boots were later found in Pyford Brook at a point which was two feet deep and about forty yards upstream from its confluence with the River Trent. They were found by an employee of the Trent River Board whilst he was involved in dragging operations during the initial search for him.

Pyford Brook led into the River Trent about 40 yards downstream from the place where Derek Crowshaw had been playing and it was thought that he might have fallen into it.

Although a broad search was made for Derek Crowshaw, it was reported that any hope of finding him alive was soon banished after a workman that had been carrying out road repairs under Wychnor Bridge, a few miles downstream of Pyford Brook, said that he had seen a body swept by in the current, it being noted that the river had been in flood at the time and flowing at about 10mph.

The post mortem on the body found on the bank of the River Trent showed that it was that of a boy between two and a half and three years old and that it had been in the water for about two months. It was noted that there were no abrasions or fractures found on the body.

The Coroner said that there was no direct evidence to show how Derek Crowshaw had come to be in the river, noting that all that was known was that Derek Crowshaw had been playing with some friends and that whilst his mother had taken her eye off of him for a short while he had vanished. He added however that he thought that there was ample circumstantial evidence to indicate that the body of the child found on the mudbanks of the River Trent at Castle Donington was that of Derek Crowshaw, noting the Wellington boot that was determined to have belonged to Derek Crowshaw having been discovered in Pyford Brook, and an open verdict was returned.


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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Long Eaton Advertiser - Saturday 22 January 1955, p5

see Belfast News-Letter - Saturday 15 January 1955

see Lichfield Mercury - Friday 14 January 1955