Unsolved Murders

Alan John Dawes

Age: 18

Sex: male

Date: 27 Dec 1960

Place: Holyhead to Crewe Railway Line, Sunnybank Road, Crewe, Cheshire

Alan John Dawes was found dead on the railway line near the bridge at Sunnybank Road in Crewe on 27 December 1960.

He had lived at 36 Minshull New Road and he and another youth and two 15-year-old girls had celebrated Boxing Day at his house shortly before he went missing.

Alan Dawes had been a Rolls-Royce apprentice and his 18-year-old friend that had lived in Brooklands Grove, Crewe had been an apprentice machinist at Rolls-Royce and they had known each other for four years. His friend said that Alan Dawes had just taken an engineering course and had passed a number of exams and that he had been at his house on Christmas Day and that he went there again the following day at about 7pm and that they went for a walk. He said that after the older folk left that he and Alan Dawes went into the house and that Alan Dawes told him that he was expecting two girls. He noted that four young nephews and nieces were left in the house besides Alan Dawes and himself.

He said that when the girls arrived that they went into the front room and played the tape recorder and some records. He said that he and Alan Dawes then had some sherry and brandy which had been in the house and that Alan Dawes then sent some of the youngsters off for some baby cham. He said that they brought back eight bottles and that the girls were then given some drinks. However, he said that in the first glasses given to the girls that Alan Dawes included some brandy and he said that it effected them and that one of the girls was sick at 10.15pm and that he and Alan Dawes took her home. However, he said that on the way back they met the girl’s mother who was rather annoyed at them.

He said that they then took the other girl to Barnabas Avenue, noting that she was a little sick but appeared to be all right when they left her at her front gate.

He said that he and Alan Dawes then walked down Bowen Cooke Avenue to Badger Avenue where he left Alan Dawes at the corner to go into his own home. He noted that when he left Alan Dawes that he was quiet and not drunk.

At the inquest the Coroner asked Alan Dawes's friend whether Alan Dawes had been worried about the row that they had had with the girl's mother and he said that Alan Dawes had not shown it. When the Coroner asked Alan Dawes's friend if he was worried about it he replied, 'Yes'.

He added that Alan Dawes had not been worried about what his parents might have said about them drinking in the house and said that as he left him that Alan Dawes asked him whether he was coming down the following night and said that he told him that he would do.

He said that Alan Dawes said nothing about going on to the railway line and added that neither did he know of any reason why he would go on the railway line, and had not known him to go there before.

He also said that he knew of no reason why Alan Dawes would have wanted to take his own life.

Alan Dawes's father, who was an engine driver, said that Alan Dawes 'was one of the finest lads you could wish to meet and he never gave me a wrong word'. He said that the only time that Alan Dawes had a drink was at Christmas or at a party.

He said that at 6.30pm on Boxing Day that he and other members of the family went out and when they got back at 11.30pm Alan Dawes was not there.

He said that after making enquiries they called the police and his family searched all night for him without success. He said that the following day the police informed him that Alan Dawes had been found dead on the railway line.

When the Coroner asked Alan Dawes's father whether he knew of any reason why Alan Dawes should have been on the railway line he replied, 'I don't, it is a mystery'.

When the Coroner asked him whether he knew of any reason why Alan Dawes might take his own life, he said, 'No, he had wonderful presents at Christmas, was quite happy and had made arrangements to go to Chelsea to watch the Alex'.

The girl that had been a little sick after drinking the brandy had lived in Hulme Street and said that she had been in the habit of going to Alan Dawes's house with her friend. She said that on Boxing Day they went into the front room and played the gramophone and tape recorder and that there were four bottles of Baby Cham and that Alan Dawes put some Brandy in their glasses and that she felt ill as a result.

She said that Alan Dawes made some black coffee and that afterward Alan Dawes and his friend took her home.  She said that she was quite affected by drink and did not remember much of what her mother said when they met her on her way home but said that she got into a row when she got home.

Sher noted that nothing wrong apart from the drink had occurred between them and the boys at Alan Dawes's home.

The other girls who had lived in Barnabas Avenue agreed that she had had too much to drink and said that Alan Dawes had been a bit worried. She said that both Alan Dawes and his friend walked her home and left her at her gate.

A shedmaster with British Railways at Holyhead said that he examined the engine that pulled the Holyhead to Crewe train on the night of Boxing Day and that that it appeared that Alan Dawes would have been lying down when the train struck him.

The engine driver that had driven the train said that the train left Chester at 11.03pm and arrived in Crewe at 11.30pm and would have been travelling at between 50 and 50 miles an hour when it had passed the spot where Alan Dawes's body was found.

A policeman that recovered Alan Dawes's body from the line near the bridge at Sunnybank Road said that he found a shattered watch that had stopped at 11.35pm and that on the embankment he found a clear footprint that fitted the shoe of Alan Dawes. He added that Alan Dawes would have had to have climbed over the fence to have got on to the railway line.

Alan Dawes's post mortem showed that he died from multiple injuries,

When the Coroner summed up he said that it was a most unusual case. He said that there was no evidence that anything wrong had taken place between the boys and girls, although it was evident that the two boys had given the girls too much to drink and had been caught out. However, he noted that the most that Alan Dawes had to fear was a bit of a telling off from his father or the girl's parents and that it was hardly a big enough reason for a young lad on the threshold of his career to have taken his own life.

He said that sometimes strange things happened that had no apparent cause and that there was a possibility that he had been on the line without intending to commit suicide.

The jury returned an open verdict.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Crewe Chronicle - Saturday 28 January 1961