Unsolved Murders

Elizabeth L Shriefer

Age: unknown

Sex: female

Date: 4 May 1906

Place: Clapham Park, London

Elizabeth Shriefer was found dead at her newsagents shop in Clapham Park, London on 4 May 1906.

Her cause of death was given as suffocation after a handkerchief had been put in her throat. The doctor said that in his opinion she could not have done that herself.

A 27-year-old sculleryman was charged with her murder after making a confession, but later withdrew his confession and was discharged.

The sculleryman, who was arrested in Iffley, said that he had been told that Elizabeth Shriefer had plenty of money and that he had entered her premises by the window to rob her. He said that whilst he was searching her premises for money he heard footsteps and that Elizabeth Shriefer then seized him by the collar of his coat, but said that he wrenched himself away from her and started cutting at her throat with a razor that he had found and that when she started screaming that he rammed a scarf down her throat.

He said that he then left by the window and had been tramping the country ever since. He said that he didn't know that he had killed her until he saw a report of the case in the newspaper on the Sunday.

He said that he had cut her throat in three or four places to make it look like she had inflicted the injuries herself.

When he was arrested, he had had a pocket book on him in which appeared the following entry in pencil: 'I, the undersigned, hereby confess that I am London's latest murderer, committed at 171 Park Road. Robbery was my intention. Three shillings I secured but expected to get more'.

He had also had blood stains on his clothes that he had said had come from Elizabeth Shriefer.

The sculleryman's confession was reported on 6 May 1906 but was revealed to have been a false confession on 21 May 1906 and he was discharged.

Two girls that had gone to the shop said that they had heard noises from upstairs as though someone had been walking about in stocking feet.

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 The Scotsman - Wednesday 16 May 1906

see Birmingham Daily Gazette - Thursday 10 May 1906

see Dundee Courier - Wednesday 16 May 1906