Date: 24 Feb 1945
Audrey Stewart was found unconscious in her bed on 2 January 1945 and died 52 days later on 24 February 1945 at Westminster Hospital without fully regaining consciousness.
She was found on her bed partially clothed covered in blood. She was found by her landlady in her bedsitting room. Her landlady said that she heard nothing during the night.
Whilst she was at Westminster Hospital she had been fed with liquids through a tube and detectives initially waited 24 hours a day by her bedside in case she regained consciousness. It was noted that she did wake up briefly around 1 February 1945 and spoke, but usually fell asleep again rather quickly and then later stayed awake in the daytime but had been unable to talk. However, she died on the afternoon of Saturday 24 February 1945 in a cubicle at the hospital.
A witness said, 'I don't think she understood what was said to her and eventually we advised the police not to stay by her bed. It was useless. We promised to keep in touch with them instead'.
She had been working as a prostitute while her husband was serving abroad in the RAF. She was described as a 'dimpled blonde'. She was also described as a woman without friends.
It was said that she was married, but that she had separated from her husband who was in Canada at the time of her murder. It was also heard that a man had visited her in hospital describing himself as her husband.
She was last seen on 2 January 1945 just after 11pm in Piccadilly near Dover Street at which time she had been wearing brown slacks and a brown leather coat. She had also been wearing a white handkerchief that she used as a headdress which bore the badges of all the Services and had the legend, 'Combined Operations' on it. She was found injured on her bed the following morning.
The police later said that they were satisfied that they knew the identity of her murderer but said that Audrey Stewart held the vital evidence they needed to complete the chain. However, after her death the police could not do so.
At the second hearing of her inquest on Friday 30 March 1945, it was heard that the police still had two things to find out:
The police noted that it was a mystery how her assailant managed to get in the house and attack her whilst other people, including her landlady, were in rooms within earshot.
see National Archives - MEPO 3/2319
see Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Monday 26 February 1945
see Chelsea News and General Advertiser - Friday 30 March 1945
see Daily Mirror - Monday 26 February 1945