Unsolved Murders in and Around Derbyshire

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‘solid original research. … Well worth reading’, ‘Very worthwhile’, 'Thought-provoking and very readable'

  • Pen and Sword Books
  • October 2009
  • Pages: 176
  • ISBN 10: 1845631145| ISBN 13: 978-1845631147

A well illustrated book featuring 13 unsolved murders from the 20th century. This book is the culmination of four years of original and painstaking research which has already generated new leads to several of the cases featured. This new information is being investigated by the police and I continue to work with them.

High profile cases such as Wendy Sewell and Barbara Mayo are included. However, the book mainly features little known cases and as a direct result of this book new information has come forward which the police are currently investigating.

An overview of the contents of each chapter is shown below:


Chapter 1: Mexican Joe (November 1908)
Herbert Nottingham Turner (better known as Mexican Joe) was a travelling conjuror. How he performed his tricks was a mystery to many but on ne cold night in November 1908 a greater mystery began in Swadlincote; Turner’s throat was cut and the traveller’s life ended. One hundred years on his killer’s identity is unknown.

Chapter 2: Clara Durose (April 1910)
Clara was a servant girl on a farm in Burton on Trent. One day before she was due to leave the farm, due to problems she was experiencing with other members of staff, she was found dead on the floor of the dairy room. It was originally believed death was caused by her accidentally falling down steps but doubts about this theory were raised and a murder investigation began. The investigation was a failure. Almost 100 years on the killer’s name is revealed, this mystery having been solved by my research.

Chapter 3: Thomas Ward (June 1921)
Thomas worked on a farm in Mackworth, Derby and it was here that his life was ended. A man was arrested and stood trial for the murder but he was acquitted. Just who did murder Thomas Ward?

Chapter 4: Samuel Fell Wilson (September 1930)
Samuel, a provision merchant, was shot dead as he drove home in Market Warsop late one autumn night in 1930. The police drafted in two of Scotland Yard’s finest detectives who wasted no time in starting a large scale manhunt. Sadly eight decades on the name of Samuel’s killer has remained a mystery but the residents of Market Warsop still provide new information about this old crime.

Chapter 5: George Harry Tyler (April 1947)
George had served in the RAF during the war before becoming a taxi driver and it was a man dressed in an RAF uniform who shot dead the taxi driver on a lonely stretch of road between Burton on Trent and Derby. The killer was seen several times making his escape, dressed in military uniform, but his name has never been determined.

Chapter 6: George Wilson (September 1963)
George was the licensee of the Fox and Grapes pub in Nottingham, less than 20 miles from Derby. He received a death threat in the summer of 1963 and the threat was acted upon around midnight one warm September night. Nottingham’s largest manhunt at that time failed to bring the killer to account even with help from Scotland Yard.

Chapter 7: Mavis Hudson (December 1966)
Mavis was a fifteen year old girl in the prime of her life. The Christmas period of 1966 saw tragedy for the Hudson family, however, when the teenager was found dead in a derelict outbuilding of a former brewery in Chesterfield.

Chapter 8: Annie Walker (April 1969)
Annie Walker withdrew a huge sum of money from her bank account. Hours later the money was gone and Annie was left battered to death in her home at Heather, north west Leicestershire.

Chapter 9: Victim unknown (c. 1970)
When a Special Constable went on a shooting trip his only hopes were of killing game. Little could he have known that death was to be presented to him in a very different form when he found what was to be revealed as a shallow grave that had been there for at least 18 months. Nearly forty years on the man’s name, and the identity of his killer, remain unknown.

Chapter 10: Barbara Mayo (October 1970)
Barbara was a hitchhiker sexually assaulted and strangled in woodland near Chesterfield by a man dubbed by the media as “the monster of the motorway.” That monster evaded one of Britain’s biggest ever murder investigations.

Chapter 11: Judith Roberts (June 1972)
A man confessed to killing Judith, a teenager savagely murdered in Burton on Trent in 1972. He was convicted after pleading not guilty and served twenty five years in prison before experts argued his confession was unreliable and evidence pointed to someone other than Andrew Evans having killed the girl

Chapter 12: Wendy Sewell (September 1973)
No book on unsolved murders in and around Derby would be complete without one of the most controversial and high profile criminal cases such as the murder of typist Wendy Sewell in Bakewell in 1973. Mentally retarded Stephen Downing admitted, after hours of intense questioning and wrongful police procedures, assaulting Wendy but was cleared at the Court of Appeal after serving 27 years for a crime he maintained he did not commit. Unidentified fingerprints on the murder weapon and a trail of other evidence leaves question marks hanging over this case and Derbyshire Constabulary seek a definitive answer, once and for all as to who exactly did kill Wendy Sewell.

Chapter 13: Elaine Wakefield (February 1982)
Elaine was CB enthusiast living in Buxton. One day she decided to walk to a racing track renowned for being a visiting spot for ‘courting couples’. She may have intended to meet a man as she walked through bad weather. Racegoers later found her semi naked dead body and an investigation opened. More than quarter of a century later, the case remains open.

The book has an RRP of £12.99 (paperback). The book is also available in Kindle and other e-book formats (prices vary).

Website created in January 2015.