Unsolved Murders

Leslie Albert Stratton

Age: 45

Sex: male

Date: 29 Jul 1952

Place: Holme Mill, Langford Road, Biggleswade

Leslie Albert Stratton was found dead in his scrap yard near Holme Mill off the Langford Road.

He was found dead at his yard on the evening of Tuesday 29 July 1952. A double-barrelled shotgun was found near him which had been discharged.

He was married with two daughters and had lived in Hitchin Street and was well known in the area.

It was noted that he had recently been acquitted at the Bedfordshire Quarter Sessions after being charged with having received a quantity of gunmetal castings valued at £590 18s. 6 1/2d., whilst knowing them to have been stolen.

The man that he had bought them from and his brother had pleaded guilty to stealing the castings and other metal which was valued together at £611 11s. 6 1/2d., and being the property of Messrs WH Robertson and Co. Ltd, whilst the man also admitted stealing a quantity of brass fittings from his employers, Messrs Shell Mex and BP Ltd valued at £3 12s. 4d and with also receiving from another man a quantity of metal valued at £54 6s. 7d., knowing it to have been stolen.

It was heard that a detective constable had been walking in Elstow Lane near Cowbridge in Bedford on 22 March 1952 when he had heard metal being thrown about and then saw three men throwing what appeared to be castings on to a lorry in a field and then put some sacks of scrap on the lorry as well. The men were Leslie Stratton and two brothers. The detective constable said that he walked into the field and asked one of the men what was under the tarpaulin sheet on the lorry and said that the man replied, 'Only scrap stuff'. The detective constable said that he then asked the man for his name and said that he told him 'Leslie Albert Stratton', saying that he was a scrap dealer and that the lorry was his.

The detective constable said that when he spoke to the man who had supplied Leslie Stratton with the metal, he told him that he had picked up the castings at various places in the country.

The detective constable then took the men to the police station and on 23 March 1952, the man that supplied the gun metal returned to the police station and said that he wanted to tell the truth and made a statement in which he admitted that he had his brother had taken the castings from beside Messrs Robertsons works and buried them.

Leslie Stratton had denied the charge and was acquitted. He said in a voluntary statement that following a telephone call that he had gone to a yard in Elstow Road where the two brothers had showed him a stack of metal for sale and said that he was weighing it when the police arrived. He said, 'I did not ask either where it had come from and they did not volunteer to tell me. I assumed they had come by it honestly'.

When Leslie Stratton was found dead he had sustained head injuries and his shotgun was found nearby.

His funeral was held at 2pm on Saturday 2 August 1952 at Biggleswade Cemetery.

Leslie Stratton's estate was settled on Friday 28 November 1952. He had died intestate and had left £2,344 7s. 5d., gross and £2,296 5s. 5d. net, with £22 duty paid. Letters of administration were granted to his widow.

Inquest verdict not known.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Biggleswade Chronicle - Friday 01 August 1952

see Bedfordshire Times and Independent - Friday 01 August 1952

see Biggleswade Chronicle - Friday 25 April 1952

see Biggleswade Chronicle - Friday 25 April 1952

see Bedfordshire Times and Independent - Friday 20 June 1952