Unsolved Murders

Maude Lilian Tassell

Age: 74

Sex: female

Date: 8 Nov 1955

Place: Dunorlan Park, Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Maude Lilian Tassell disappeared on 8 November 1955 after going out for an evening walk from the Vale Royal Hotel in Tunbridge Wells where she had been living at the time.

Her hat was later found on the post of a park bench in Dunorlan Park about four yards from the lake and the lake was partially drained in a bid to find her, but the search failed to locate her body. However, her body was later recovered from the lake on the morning of Monday 28 November 1955 after it floated to the surface.

During the search for her a picture of her hat was published in the newspapers in the hope that someone might recognise it in some way. It was described as a rust-coloured felt hat. Details about the discovery of the hat were not given to the police until Saturday 19 November 1955 and the police started their dragging operations in the lake the following day.

It was noted that when she had left the hotel she had not taken her handbag with her, but that it was not known whether or not she had taken any money with her.

Following her disappearance the police said that every police station in the country had received a description of her and said that checks had been carried out over a wide area.

The hat was found by a deputy parks superintendent on the back of the seat whilst he had been carrying out his usual daily inspections at about 9.15am on 9 November 1955. However, he had taken it to the storeroom which was the usual practice where lost items could be called for by people and claimed. He said that it wasn't until the weekend that he remembered finding the hat and thought to tell the police about it. He said that when he later examined it he found grey hairs on it. He noted that the water near the park bench was quite deep and had a lot of weed in it.

The police later said that the hat that the deputy parks superintendent had found was similar to the one that Maude Tassell had possessed but noted that there was no positive identification.

The water was drained for 24-hours after which the lake level had gone down 12 inches.

Her post mortem showed that she died from shock following immersion in cold water and not from drowning.

Her inquest was held on Friday 2 December 1955 and an open verdict was returned. The Coroner said that there was insufficient evidence to show that she had taken her own life.

Maude Tassell was a bank manager's widow.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Kent & Sussex Courier - Friday 25 November 1955, p1

see Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Monday 21 November 1955

see Portsmouth Evening News - Monday 28 November 1955

see Belfast News-Letter - Friday 02 December 1955