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Williamsport Sunday Grit
27 October 1935

England Fears Murder Fiend After a Fifth Mystery case

Mutilated Bodies of Unidentified Women Discovered in Ravine in Scotland

London, England. Oct. 26.
Spurred by gruesome revelations of still another "torso murder" mystery, the fifth of a series brought to light within 16 months, fears are mounting here that Britain is harboring a modern Jack the Ripper.

The latest atrocity sent police to a lonely ravine near Moffat, Dumfriesshire, Scotland, where they found the fiendishly mutilated remains of two women.

The murderer had taken every precaution to escape detection. The bodies were nude. The feet and fingers had been chopped off. Large pieces of skin had been skilfully removed, ostensibly to destroy telltale scars of birth marks by which the victims might have been identified.

The eyes, noses and ears had also been slashed beyond recognition.

Even the blood had been drained, making the task of determining how long they had been dead more difficult.


The lone clew to the crime was a business prospectus issued by a London firm - used for wrapping up part of the bodies, which were found in several parcels scattered in the underbrush of the deep ravine known as the "Devil's Beef Tub."

The London address convinced authorities that Scotland had been chosen for disposing of the hacked bodies only because the murderer found England too "hot" in the wake of four earlier crimes of a strikingly similar nature.

These were:

June 18, 1934. Brighton "Trunk Murder" No. 1 - The discovery of a woman's nude body, with the head, arms and legs missing, stuffed in a trunk at Brighton railway station. Never identified.

July 16, 1934. Brighton "Trunk murder" No. 2 - The discovery of another woman's body, later identified as Violet Kaye, a faded music hall dancer, crammed into a trunk at the same station. A darkly handsome youth named Tony Mancini, known as the "Stuttering waiter," the victim's sweetheart, was arrested and tried for murder but acquitted.


Feb. 25, 1935. Waterloo "Jigsaw Murder" - The discovery of a pair of shaved legs, wrapped in brown paper, at Waterloo Station, London. Never identified.

March 19, 1934. Brentford "Canal Murder" - The discovery of a man's torso, headless and legless, tied up in a gunnysack, dragged from the dark waters of the Grand Union Canal, near Brentford, by three small and terrified boys playing "pirates."

A week later, on March 26, an acid scarred human head was found on a refuse dump at Ealing, not far from Brentford, leading Scotland Yard experts to believe it was part of the canal victim's body.

But again, as in each preceding case except that of Violet Kaye, the work of obliterating marks was so thorough that even Scotland yard's famed Sir Bernard Spilsbury threw up his hands.

It has been impossible definitely to link any one of these grisly crimes with another. But as the trail of dissected bodies, spare legs and arms, and truncated heads spreads, with never a tangible clew, the fear grows that a modern counterpart of the dread Ripper, who terrorized England more than a quarter of a century ago, is at work again.