Unsolved Murders

John William Ruddlesdin

Age: 59

Sex: male

Date: 24 Nov 1960

Place: 19 Whittall Street, Birmingham

John William Ruddlesdin was found dead in a derelict house.

His body was mummified and the pathologist could not give a cause of death and an open verdict was returned.

His identity was not known at first but it was later decided that he was John Ruddlesdin the nightwatchman.

The inquest heard that John Ruddlesdin had had an artificial leg and a hearing aid and that the body found had the same. It was also heard that certain papers that were found on the body bore the name Ruddlesdin and that Salvation Army Hostel bed tickets and a dice found in the clothing were also identified as belonging to him along with certain items of clothing.

The Coroner said, 'The premises were derelict and very easy to enter. It may well be that when this man could not get a bed for the night he wandered about looking for a place, went in and died in his sleep. I think we can rule out any question of foul play'.

John Ruddlesdin's 82-year-old brother who lived in Waverley Road, Leamington, said that John Ruddlesdin had worked as a nightwatchman and had also been a patient in a mental hospital and that he also had an artificial right leg and wore a hearing aid.

A member of staff at the Salvation Army Hostel in Ryder Street said that he remembered a man wit an artificial leg who had been in the hostel in May and had asked for a bed but said that they were full up and could not give him accommodation. He added that the man then told him, 'I am going to die', noting that he looked very pale.

A plumber that had lived in Long Street, Sparkbrook said that he had been repairing the roof at 19 Whittall Street on 10 June 1960. He said, 'There was a hole in the roof and I glanced through and saw what I thought was a dummy lying in the centre of the room on its back. We tipped some rubble we had been clearing down through the hole', however, he didn't raise any alarms and John Ruddlesdin's body was not discovered until some months later.

A Corporation repairs Inspector said that he later received complaints about dampness in adjoining premises and went to 19 Whittal Street on 7 November 1960 with two workmen. He said, 'On the floor there appeared to be rubbish and old clothes, and then I noticed the bones of a hand sticking out. I looked closer and saw it was a body'.

The jury returned an open verdict at the inquest.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Birmingham Daily Post - Thursday 24 November 1960