Date: 25 Aug 1958
Joyce Green was strangled in the bedroom of her cottage, Dawn Warren, Old Mill Road, Denham on Monday 25 August 1958.
She was found in her bedroom by her 7-year-old son with a bedcover over her and a gag round her mouth.
The time of her death was given as having been between 9.45am and 10.30am. Her cause of death was given as asphyxia.
It was thought that Joyce Green had been manually strangled and then gagged and that a ligature was then tied round her neck.
Her body was found naked except for her brassiere and her hands had been tied firmly behind her back. It was also noted that her ankles bore linear marks to suggest they had also been firmly tied together, having been done with clothing that was found in the house.
It was noted that sexual intercourse had taken place but that there was no evidence to suggest that force had been used. The pathologist stated that the post mortem showed no apparent sign of any sexual assault.
It was said that robbery was not thought to have been the primary motive and that it had been the work of a sex maniac. Shortly after the murder the police warned house-holders in the district not to admit any strangers.
It was said that the contents of the room had been considerably disturbed, but it was thought that only a small amount of cash had been stolen. It was noted that Joyce Green's purse had been found empty. It was not known how much money had been in the purse but it was thought to have been a few pounds.
It was noted that several pieces of jewellery in a box remained untouched and the police said that they believed that the theft of the money and the fact that drawers of cupboards were half pulled out may have been 'a blind'.
Joyce Green's 7-year-old son had been in the house at the time and was said to have seen a man with Joyce Green before she was strangled. He said that he saw the man force his way into their house via the back door and forced Joyce Green into her bedroom, describing him as a big man in a dark blue suit.
A police report stated that the man had called at the back door and had been admitted and that on being admitted into the house that he had immediately attacked Joyce Green.
After the man strangled Joyce Green, her 7-year-old son said that he tried to rouse her and when he couldn't he ran to a neighbours to give the alarm. It was later reported that Joyce Green's son had been moved to a secret address. When Joyce Green's son made his statement to the police he did so in the presence of his step-father.
It was reported that when the man came out of Joyce Green's bedroom that he had said to her 7-year-old son, 'It's all right, sonny. Mummy's all right'.
The man that murdered Joyce Green was described as:
Joyce Green's husband had been at work at the time of the murder. He worked for a calculating machine company. He had left the house about an hour before Joyce Green was murdered.
The police said that a complete dossier on Joyce Green's life and activities had been built up and that the process had strengthened their view that the murderer was not a casual caller.
It was also reported that the police had asked for the help of Interpol, the International Police Organisation, in tracing two young Frenchmen that had been camping near Denham during the week of the murder and who had since returned home to France.
The police said that they were conducting the murder hunt 'like a military operation'. It was said that a new procedure designed to squeeze every possible scrap of information from residents within a mile radius of Dawn Warren was planned and was to be directed by Scotland Yard. The police said, 'An area will be covered on a block system and the same team of detectives will stay in one area the whole time, questioning people again and again'.
During their investigation the police said that they were trying to trace every person that had passed along Old Mill Road between 7am and 1am on 25 August 1958. They drove around the area with a loud speaker with the message, 'This is a police message in connection with the murder at Denham on Monday, August 25. It is urgently necessary to know the name and address of every person who passed along Old Mill Road between 7am and 11am on Monday August 25. Police are also anxious to trace a man who was in Denham that morning and who was wearing a blazer with a green badge. If you can help, will you please get in touch with the police immediately'. It was said that the broadcast was repeated throughout the district for about six hours.
The police also stopped all the buses going along Oxford Road near Old Mill Lane and told the passengers, 'Your attention and assistance is earnestly requested. Three hundred yards from this spot on Monday morning a woman was murdered. If you saw anybody acting suspiciously will you please communicate with your local police station'.
The police also visited a public house in Hayes and asked customers there whether they had seen Joyce Green with a man other than her husband. It was noted that the public house was about half-a-mile away from where Joyce Green had lived with her husband two years earlier and they were well known there.
More than 100 sets of fingerprints were reported to have been checked against those found at the house.
On 12 October 1958 the police appealed for five people that they knew had been near the scene but had not come forward.
Three of them were people that had been seen together at the junction of Old Mill Road and Priory Close at 9.50am on 25 August 1958. Two of them a man and a woman were seen giving directions to a man wearing a blazer with a green badge.
The other two were women that were seen at a near-by bus stop, apparently intending to travel towards Uxbridge.
The police said that they thought that the five people might have vital information about the murder and it was reported that their failure to come forward was helping the killer to stay free.
The police said that they were also looking for a man that was said to have had an American accent and who had called at a number of houses in the vicinity seeking accommodation.
The police said that they were visiting 5,000 houses in the area to ask people questions.
Joyce Green had married twice, her first husband was an American airman and they had gone to live in America but Joyce Green had returned to England in 1956 after their marriage was dissolved. During the investigation the police contacted the American Federal Bureau of Investigation to check on the associates of her first husband.
Joyce Green's funeral was held on 1 September 1958 at Harlington Parish Church and she was buried at Cherry Lane Cemetery in Hayes.
On Thursday 16 October 1958 it was reported that Scotland Yard were convinced that they knew the identity of the man that strangled and assaulted Joyce Green and that they had given his description and photograph out to every police force in the country. It was said that the man had a criminal record and that he was known by various names, it being said that he was known to have had seven aliases. The man was described as a professional burglar and had been missing from his lodgings since the day of the murder. When the police went to his lodgings they found a number of stolen articles, including women's shoes and handbags.
However, it was noted that the items found at the man's lodgings did not match up with anything that Joyce Green was known to have owned and nor did they match up with any items belonging to a number of other women that had also been murdered.
However, it was said that the man's description tallied with that of the one that Joyce Green's 7-year-old son had given.
His description was also sent to all ports in case he tried to leave the country.
On 25 October 1958 it was reported that the police arrested a man in Ruislip on the Saturday at a lodging house in Clyfford Road, Ruislip Gardens. The man had been lodging there for a few days. He was said to have had dark hair but that it was believed that he might have only recently dyed it.
He was questioned by the Chief Superintendent that was in charge of the Muriel Maitland case after which he was charged with another offence.
It was said that the police were working on the assumption that Joyce Green's murder might have been connected with the murder of Muriel Maitland who was strangled in Cranford in 1957 and Susan Southgate who was suffocated at her home, The Mill House, near Chelmsford in April 1958. It was said that the possibility that the murders were linked was sparked off when property, which was alleged to have been stolen, was found in a number of homes, one in Hayes, and which connected the three murders.
It was also noted that it was known that another man that the police thought might be able to help with their enquiries, a heavy gambler, had been to lodging house in Kingshill Avenue, Hayes where he asked to see a man. However, the man was not there, although the man's wife was and she asked him to come in and stay for a cup of tea but said that he left before her husband returned. She said that she only later discovered that it was the man that the police were looking to interview.
The man arrested at Clyfford Road was 30-years old and known as the General. He was known to wear a mask and to use a hammer and was a professional burglar and roamed the country with his gang. He was jailed on Friday 28 November 1958 for 8 years at the Old Bailey for robbery with violence.
It was heard that the three men in his gang all called him 'The General' and were all convicted alongside him. It was heard that they had broken into a quiet house in Fingest Lane, Bolter End on 18 September 1958 at about 11pm. A 50-year-old woman had been in the lounge at the time with her 16-year-old daughter and 'The General', said to have been armed with a hammer in one hand and an iron bar in the other, had demanded the keys to the safe from the woman but she had refused to give them to him.
The woman and her daughter were then tied up and the gang searched the house but couldn't find the safe key. It was said then that 'The General' told the woman, 'You know what will happen to your daughter unless you tell us'. However, the woman still refused to say where the key to the safe was.
The gang searched the house for three hours during which time it was said that 'The General' sat down on the end of the bed where the 16-year-old girl lay bound and, whilst smoking, moved aside his silk stocking mask to put a cigarette in his mouth.
The gang then left the house, taking £50 with them along with a tape recorder and a mink coat.
The 16-year-old girl was not able to free herself until about 6am after which she freed her mother.
After the robbery it was said that 'The General' adopted a disguise. It was heard that when he was seen on 18 September 1958 that his hair had been fair but that when he was arrested on 18 October 1958 that his hair was black. However, it was noted that that had not deceived the Yard men who had been on his trail.
The police said that when they arrested 'The General' and his gang that they were able to clear up many cases. The men all pleaded guilty to six charges of housebreaking and robbery with violence and 'The General' asked for 23 other offences to be considered. It was heard that after 'The General' was arrested he said, 'I have been getting my living by housebreaking for the past eighteen months. I can tell you what I was doing on the day of the Denham murder'.
It is not clear to what extent the police suspected 'The General' in the case of the murder of Joyce Green, but her murder remains unsolved to this day.
see OUR CORRESPONDENT. "Clues Sought To 1958 Murder." Times [London, England] 22 Aug. 1961: 12. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 3 Mar. 2013.
see National Archives - HO 332/16 - STA 502/3/33, MEPO 2/9833
see Reading Evening Post - Monday 03 February 1969
see Sunday Mirror - Sunday 07 September 1958
see Daily Mirror - Saturday 29 November 1958
Daily Mirror - Monday 01 September 1958
see Western Mail - Tuesday 02 September 1958
see Torbay Express and South Devon Echo - Monday 01 September 1958
see The People - Sunday 12 October 1958
see Torbay Express and South Devon Echo - Saturday 06 September 1958
see Leicester Evening Mail - Saturday 30 August 1958
see Liverpool Echo - Saturday 06 September 1958
see Liverpool Echo - Tuesday 26 August 1958
see Middlesex County Times - Saturday 25 October 1958
see Halifax Evening Courier - Saturday 30 August 1958
see Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail - Friday 05 September 1958
see Newcastle Journal - Thursday 16 October 1958
see Shields Daily News - Saturday 30 August 1958