Unsolved Murders

Frances White

Age: 74

Sex: female

Date: 22 Nov 1961

Place: Church Road, Edgbaston

Frances White was knocked down on a zebra crossing on 7 November 1961 and died in Birmingham Accident Hospital on 22 November 1961.

However, the car that knocked her over failed to stop and was never traced.

A 23-year-old woman that lived in Old Oscott Lane in Great Barr said that she had been standing at a bus stop in Church Road when the accident happened. She said, 'I saw an old lady standing in between the bollards on the zebra crossing. A car came round the bend from the direction of Priory Road. The old lady had taken one step on to the second half of the crossing when the car hit her. It was travelling fast. It swerved into the pavement and then disappeared round the bend in the road. I think it was a large, old car. The driver must have known he had hit something'.

She added that the car might have been a green-blue colour, saying, 'I managed to get some of the registration number. I think it was PJW 73, but am not sure if that is correct. I can't say what make of car it was'.

A 25-year-old woman that had been standing with the woman at the bus stop and who had lived at the YWCA Hostel in Norfolk Road, Edgbaston said that she looked round when she heard a thud from the direction of the zebra crossing and saw a car swerve onto the pavement. She said, 'The woman shouted, 'Get the number of that car''. She added, 'I think it was a P or a B, followed by JW and then the numbers 7 and 3. It looked like a fairly new car to me'.

A police inspector said that they had made extensive enquiries to trace the car and its driver, adding, 'but so far we have had no success'.

He said, 'The file will be kept open in case anything turns up. We have investigated the registration numbers given by the witnesses in every combination. A great number of drivers have been seen and wherever possible their whereabouts at the time of the accident have been checked. Garages have been visited and the dead woman's clothing has been scientifically examined, but we have had no luck whatsoever. Possibly this car had false number plates, that is one explanation'.

At the inquest, the City Coroner said, 'One thing seems clear. The driver must have known he had hit someone. In this sort of hit and run case I always ask myself what is the driver trying to conceal? Why did he not stop? Was it just callousness, or something else?'.

An open verdict was returned.

Frances White had lived in Emerson Road, Harborne.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Birmingham Daily Post - Saturday 09 December 1961