Most gruesome London Underground murder where mutilated body was found in luggage locker
London has always been home to both the best and the worst of humanity: the brightest and the darkest, mingling in the streets.
How many times must the best of us face the worst – like the day in 1927 when a black cab driver helped a client carry a very heavy trunk in his cab, then drove him to the doorstep? Charing Cross station.
A few days later, a porter at the locker noticed an unpleasant odor coming from the trunk.
READ MORE: London Underground station where a killer mother and daughter dumped the remains of a dead body
He called the police, who opened the safe and found five large bundles of brown paper, tied with string.
Inside the packages were dismembered parts of a human body, wrapped in clothes, towels and a feather duster.
Famous pathologist Sir Bernard Spilsbury examined the body and determined that it was a woman aged around 35 who had been suffocated while being intentionally trapped.
The murderer made a rookie mistake, however.
If you’re trying to hide a body in a London train station, make sure the victim isn’t there with a pile of clothes with traces of laundry and a pair of underwear with a name tag.
The name said: “P. HOLT”.
The underwear was attributed to a Ms Holt in Chelsea, who was alive and well and had had around 10 servants in two years – one of whom, Ms Rolls, was missing.
They assumed fairly quickly that the underwear had been taken by the victim – that she was (forgive me) panties.
Police asked Ms Holt if she could identify the victim’s head, which she did.
But her maid, Mrs. Rolls, was actually called Minnie Alice Bonati – after leaving her Italian husband for a man whose last name was Rolls, she had changed her name.
She had, it was confirmed, worked as a prostitute.
The police had published photos of the trunk in the press and a shopkeeper had come forward to confirm that it was a trunk he had sold, and gave a description of the man who had it. bought – black hair and military demeanor.
The taxi driver described his encounter with the murderer and must have been horrified to find out what he helped transport.
The main suspect in this case was John Robinson, a defaulting real estate agent.
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They searched his house, which he had of course abandoned – but found a telegram addressed to his wife who worked at the Greyhound Hotel in Hammersmith
But his wife was about to have a shock – she wasn’t his real wife.
He was already married to another woman when he married her.
Finding out that her husband was a nasty bigamist, she agreed to help the police.
She went to meet him, with the police there, and he was arrested.
But the memory of his face escaped this taxi driver, the shopkeeper and the porter, all of whom failed to get him out of a queue.
So he walked freely.
A policeman couldn’t let go, so took a risk and had the feather duster washed – a piece of evidence -.
He revealed the word “Greyhound”, the hotel where the suspect’s wife worked, and a subsequent search of his office revealed a bloodstained correspondence.
“I made it and I cut it out”, John Robinson said as he was questioned by police.
However, clearly wanting to hang on to some form of innocence, he made up a story that was nothing like the pathologist’s report that Minnie had been strangled.
He claimed that Minnie had “approached” him at Victoria Station and they returned to his office together (this all seems to be a very delicate way for him to admit he had solicited a prostitute).
She then became violent, he said, demanding money, and when she broke loose he shoved her and she – quite by accident – fell and smashed her head. on a coal bucket.
The jury didn’t care – or maybe they were just appalled at the outrageous way he had treated her body.
He was sentenced to death and hanged a month later, on August 12, 1927, in Pentonville prison.
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