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Mary Philomena Nolan

Age: 24

Sex: female

Date: 28 Oct 1956

Place: Denmark Road, Moss Side, Manchester

Mary Nolan was found unclothed and strangled on a piece of wasteland off Denmark Road in Greenheys, Moss Side on Sunday 28 October 1956.

She had been strangled with her own scarf.

The wasteland that she was found on was described as a Manchester blitz site.

It was thought that her murder might have been connected to the murder of Abraham Cullen which took place a week earlier and it was suggested that she might have been murdered because she knew too much about it.

People that lived nearby said that they had heard screams and the slamming of a car door early on the Sunday. Her body was found by a 50-year-old woman who lived in Carter Street about ten yards from her back door. A man that lived nearby said, 'About four o'clock on Sunday morning I heard a car door being slammed shut three times. Then there was a commotion'.

She was Irish. Her identity was ascertained from papers found in her plastic handbag, but nothing was found to indicate where she had been living in Manchester although it was later determined that until three weeks before her murder that she had been living with her brother in lodgings in Angle Street, Chorlton-on-Medlock. Her landlord said, 'She was a grand, quiet girl'.

She was described as a pretty brunette.

When she was found she was naked but her head and shoulders were covered over with a coat and her clothes were found scattered about her.

A man's handkerchief was found near her body covered with lipstick.

Her left leg was found bandaged from her foot to the knee and it was that that had helped the police to identify her after it was heard that she had previously broken her leg. Up until the time that she had broken her leg she had been working as a waitress in the buffet at Manchester's Central Station. It was said that she was well known in public houses and clubs in the Greenheys area.

The chief superintendent with Manchester police said, 'She must have put up a fight for her life'.

Following her death it was reported that a squad of female police officers dressed up as 'good time girls', wearing dance dresses and high-heals, and went about crowded ballrooms in the hope that they might get asked to dance by Mary Nolan's murderer. It was reported that they were accepting dances by men that picked them up and that they would then listen intently to what they in the hope that they might reveal a clue regarding Mary Nolan's murder. They were also said to have gone about dance halls, pubs and snack bars to listen in to other people's gossip for a careless word that might reveal the identity of the murderer.

A senior policeman was reported as having said, 'On Saturday nights people talk more because they drink more. We hope that one of our policewomen will pick up a vital clue, or even meet Mary Nolan's murderer'.


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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Northern Whig - Monday 29 October 1956

see Londonderry Sentinel - Saturday 09 February 1957

see Leicester Evening Mail - Monday 11 February 1957

see Halifax Evening Courier - Monday 11 February 1957

see Coventry Evening Telegraph - Friday 08 February 1957

see Daily Mirror - Monday 29 October 1956

see Sunday Mirror - Sunday 11 November 1956