Unsolved Murders


Age: 16

Sex: male

Date: 10 Aug 1956

Place: Bolton-le-Sands, Morcambe Bay, Lancashire

The body of a naked youth was found by a fisherman on a sandbank near Middleton in Morcambe Bay at the mouth of the River Lune on 10 August 1956.

The fisherman, who had lived in Middleton Road in Overton, said that he found the youth's body between 9am and 9.30am on 10 August 1956 whilst he was out fishing in the Lune near the estuary with his son. He had waited for three hours for the tide after which they had brought the youth's body back to Bazil Point. He said that the youth's body was lying on a sandbank near a channel bottom about a mile west of Sunderland Point lighthouse and that he was naked and that there was no clothing about.

He said that he thought that the youth might have been camping and had gone for a walk and then later got into difficulties and stripped in his efforts to regain the shore.

The police had made a search of the district but had been unable to find any clothes that he might have been wearing before he had got into the water. They said that several reports of missing youths were investigated but that they had not been able to identify him and that they had carried out extensive inquiries in Penzance, Kent and Liverpool in their efforts to identify the youth without success.

The pathologist that examined his body at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary said that the youth had been in the water for about 48 hours and had died from drowning.

He described the youth as having a slim build, being about 5ft 9in tall, with a sandy complexion and with a front tooth broken in half. He noted that there were abrasions caused by rubbing in the sand. The youth was additionally described as being between 15 and 18-years-old, fair to brown hair, blue eyes, clean shaven and other than the chip to his front right incisor, to have had good teeth, a scar on his upper right eyelid and a one inch long scar on his lower lip.

A deserted four-seater rowboat named 'Manella, Penzance', was found nearby nine days later on 19 August 1956 on the shores of Morcambe Bay at Bolton-le-Sands. Its name had been on two brass plates. However, the owner of the row-boat was later traced and he said that the boat had got adrift from its moorings in the Isle of Man. However, it was not known whether the row-boat was in any way connected with the youth.

The Coroner said, 'It is a complete mystery where this youth came from. Despite publicity in the press and on the radio and inquiries by police and other sources there is no solution. It is most unfortunate that these efforts have failed to produce relatives of the youth. The Coroner also thanked the BBC for their assistance in trying to ascertain the youth’s identity.

The inquest heard that no one had been reported as missing from any boats English or foreign at Heysham Harbour.

An open verdict of found drowned was returned at his inquest.

The youth was later buried in an un-named grave in Torrisholme Cemetery.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Lancashire Evening Post - Wednesday 12 September 1956, p5

see Morecambe Guardian - Friday 14 September 1956, p1

see Morecambe Guardian - Friday 17 August 1956