Unsolved Murders

William Smith

Age: 62

Sex: male

Date: 4 Jun 1916

Place: Crewe Green Road, Crewe

William Smith was found dead on the Crewe Green Road near the station.

He had been at the Crewe Bowling Club, on Crewe Road, on the Saturday evening and had left shortly before 12 midnight. He left two men at the gates of the club and went off towards Crewe whilst his two friends headed off in the other direction. he was found two hours later lying in the road dead.

He had injuries to his face and the back of his head. He was found lying in the road by a taxi driver who had a passenger with him. After seeing William Smith lying in the middle of the road they went for the police and shortly after a doctor arrived.

William Smith was at the time lying in Haslington Road near the Crewe Arms Hotel. The doctor examined William Smith and said that he had been dead for about an hour. he found that he had a tremendous haemorrhage from his nose. He found that the right sleeve of William Smith's coat had been torn and that it looked like something had passed over his right boot. He also found stains that looked like grease or oil on his coat.

When the police arrived they found William Smith lying in the road with his back in the centre of the road, his head towards Sandbach. He had serious head injuries and the right sleeve of his coat was torn. They also found a mark on the right side of his coat that went from his hip pocket to his breast and in the opinion of the policeman it was a wheel mark, probably caused by a motorcar or a motorcycle.

At the post-mortem there were virtually no other injuries found. He had an abrasion on his right elbow and an abrasion on his right knee, however, they were not severe. However, he found that William Smith's skull was fractured and both his jaw's had been broken. The vault of the skull and the back had both been fractured. The outside marks were bruising to the skin with no cuts. There was evidence to the back of his head of a blow.

The cause of death was given as a fracture of the skull and laceration of the brain.

The doctor said that he did not think that the injury had been caused by being knocked over by a car as there would have been more dirt about him. However, he said that no man could inflict such injuries without a weapon and if a weapon had been used then there would have been cuts about his face.

The question of whether a rubber tyre had driven over his head was put and it was thought possible. It was heard that a cart wheel might have caused the injury but that it would have left cuts also and so it was considered that whatever had caused the injuries had been elastic, like a rubber tyre. However, it was thought that if his head had been on the road as a tyre passed over it then his face would have been cut as it was forced into the surface of the road.

The doctor said that his death would probably have been instantaneous.

When William Smith had left the club he was described as perfectly sober but had had a couple of drinks during the evening.

He was also noted as being particularly deaf in one ear.

Several cars were inspected and from one car, No. 4410 they found some grey hairs but nothing conclusive was determined. A taxi driver was questioned and said he thought that the hair was the hair from a brush and said that if his car had passed over a man it would have put him in a hedge.

It was concluded that he could not have been thrown down onto the road and must have been lying in the roadway in the first place but it was not possible to say how he had come to be lying in the road and an open verdict was returned.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Nantwich Guardian - Friday 09 June 1916