Five British Cold Cases That Remain Unsolved

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Britain is home to some of the world’s most infamous cold cases with many remaining unsolved. Here are five British cold cases that are still considered open investigations.

The Green Bicycle Murder of Bella Wright

On 5th July 1919, 21-year-old Bella Wright was shot in the face and died of her wound immediately. She was found later that evening next to her bicycle. When the body was reported to police half hour later, they assumed she had died in an unfortunate accident but it was far from the truth.

On the ground near the body were bloody bird prints that led away from where Bella’s body had been to the top of a nearby wooden gate. Beyond the gate in the meadow, a crow with bloody feet lay dead.

For months, the case made no progress until a bargeman discovered the frame of a green bicycle in a canal. The bike was traced to maths teacher Ronald Vivian Light. But Light was found not guilty at his trial. The murder of Bella Wright remains unsolved and continues to fascinate researchers – and cyclists – to this day.

Nude in the Nettles

A strange phone call led to the discovery of a woman’s body on the North York Moors, but for over 40 years, her identity and death remain a mystery, and one of England’s oddest unsolved cold cases.

After an anonymous phone call to police, investigators found the remains of a female among the willow herbs of Sutton Bank in the North York Moors. The victim was immediately linked to Peter Sutcliffe, but Sutcliffe had been arrested seven months earlier and was not known to have ventured near to Sutton Bank.

Due to the decomposition of the body, and the rate the willow herbs had grown up around it, it was suggested she had died at least one year earlier. A full DNA profile was created in 2012, but to this day, she remains unidentified and the murder unsolved.

Great Coram Street Murder of Harriet Buswell

On Christmas afternoon in Victorian London 1872, 27-year-old sex worker Harriet Buswell was found in her room by her landlady with her throat slashed, and the door locked from the outside. Her throat had been cut from ear to ear, and her bedclothes were stained with blood.

On Christmas Eve, Harriet left the lodgings to visit the Alhambra Theatre Bar in Leicester Square. She was seen later that night walking back to her flat with a well-to-do gentleman. Harriet borrowed some money from another tenant then went back to her room with the unidentified man.

What really happened to Harriet that night remains a mystery, beyond the evidence of the murder. We may never know who or what violently took her life that Christmas but it appears that someone got away with murder. Even today, as the bells chime across London, and families celebrate Christmas, the echoes of Harriet’s death remain.

Notting Hill Murder of Vera Page

Ten-year-old Vera Page was abducted and murdered in Notting Hill on 14th December 1931, leading to a 100-year-old cold case, which despite a strong suspect and solid investigatory work, remains officially unsolved to this day.

On the day of her murder, she was visiting nearby relatives when she left to walk the 50-metre distance home. It was the last time she was seen alive. It had only been 45 minutes from the time she had left her aunties home to the time she was known to be missing.

In the early hours of the 16th, a passing milkman discovered Vera’s body which had been dumped in the garden of a local resident. Her body had been kept in a coal shed the night before.

41-year-old launderette worker Percival Rush was suspected of the crime but was acquitted due to procedural mistakes. The real killer, if it wasn’t Rush, has never been identified and the murder of Vera Page remains officially unsolved.

Mystery of the Body in the Tree

In 1940s England, a group of young boys were playing in the forest and ventured onto the private land of Lord Cobham, known as Hagley Estate, when they found a dead woman stuffed into the middle of a wych elm tree.

Police uncovered the near-complete skeletal remains of a female, along with various items of clothing and a gold wedding ring. Forensic testing showed that the female had been dead for at least eighteen months and was suspected to have been suffocated to death, due to remnants of a cloth found in her mouth.

One year after the discovery of the body and failure of the investigation, mysterious graffiti began appearing around the local area and then the whole of the country. It read; Who Put Bella In The Wych Elm. Curiously, Bella’s skeleton and original autopsy report are missing and have never been found, only adding to the mystery of the body in the tree, which remains unsolved.

Check out the ORRIBLE BRITISH TRUE CRIME books for more details and hundreds more British true crime stories.

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