Unsolved Murders

James Kelly

Age: unknown

Sex: male

Date: 11 Feb 1920

Place: Gunnersbury Lane, Acton Town, London

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

James Kelly was killed in Acton by a burglar in a lonely lane adjacent to Acton Town station on the District Railway.

He was shot in the stomach, chest and left leg on the Wednesday evening and taken to St. Thomas's Hospital where an operation for the removal of the bullets was immediately performed. However, he died a few days later shortly before midnight on 22 February 1920.

James Kelly was a Metropolitan policeman. A private constable in the employ of a woman at the Rothschild Estate working nearby came to his assistance was also shot. The private constable was hit in the shoulder, but his injuries were not so severe.

The burglar had been attempting to rob a safe between 3am and 4am at the Acton Town Railway Station. James Kelly was passing by and saw that the outer gate of the railway station had been forced and that the centre window of the booking hall had been broken. He went in and saw the burglar with whom he at once closed. There was a struggle, however, the burglar managed to escape and bolted along Gunnersbury Lane where he was chased by James Kelly. The burglar ran behind a tree and then fired three shots at James Kelly, hitting him, which were heard by the private constable who was in a nearby lodge with his watchdog.

The burglar then ran along Cope's Lane and the private constable came out into the lane and he tried to stop the burglar, managing to land a heavy blow on him about the neck, but was then himself also shot, being hit in the shoulder. The private constable's dog also went for the burglar and was also shot at.

Nothing was stolen from the railway safe.

The burglar was said to have been about 30 and wearing a light trench coat.


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


see Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail - Monday 23 February 1920

see Western Gazette - Friday 13 February 1920

see Diss Express - Friday 20 February 1920

see The Scotsman - Thursday 12 February 1920

see Dundee Courier - Thursday 12 February 1920