Unsolved Murders

Diane Smith

Age: 8

Sex: female

Date: 24 Aug 1960

Place: Cheddar Gorge, Cheddar, Somerset

Diane Smith died after a rock fell on her in Cheddar Gorge.

The rock was the size of a football.

Her inquest returned a verdict of 'accidental death'.

Diane Smith had lived in Holcomobe Vale, Bathampton near Bath and had been out on a picnic.

She died from a fractured skull.

A 10-year-old boy that had lived in Atkinson Drive, Brough, Yorkshire, said that he had been with Diane and their parents in the gorge and that he had begun to climb a cliff and that whilst they were doing that that a little boy in a blue jumper passed them and that later on they started to climb down.

He said, 'I was last and Diane was just in front of me. I looked back after a bit and saw a stone rolling down the slopes. It kept bouncing. It was moving fast and I shouted to warn the others and dived to the ground. When I looked up I saw daddy attending to Diane'.

The boys mother said that while they were waiting for an ambulance that she spoke to the driver of a van. she said, 'My son pointed out a boy to me and said, 'He was the one who threw it', or something like that. I asked this boy what had happened and he said it was his brother whose foot had got caught. There was a man sitting in the van and a boy was sitting with him. I said the boy had caused the accident. I didn't know then how serious it was. The man just hit the boy across the ear. Then the man drove off and that was the last I saw of them'.

The Coroner noted that the van driver had not seen fit to come forward to give evidence and it was noted that it was doubtful whether it would ever be known how the stone had come to be dislodged.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Birmingham Daily Post - Wednesday 24 August 1960