Tuesday, 17 May 2011

The Bandaged Killer Soldier

When a soldier raped and murdered a fifteen year old girl he he left behind a vital clue - a bandage which he had used to tend his injured thumb.

On the evening of 2nd November 1940, Mary Hagan left her home at Brookside Avenue in Waterloo to buy a newspaper and cigarettes for her father but never returned. 

Search parties were set up and that same night Mary's body was found in a concrete blockhouse which was used as an anti-invasion fortress. In the muddy vicinity was a clear impression of a boot heel, an army bandage which had been used to treat a thumb wound which was stained with zinc ointment, as well as a chocolate bar wrapper containing traces of zinc ointment. It was found that Mary had eaten this chocolate bar, meaning whoever had worn the bandage had come into contact with Mary. The conclusion was that of the wearer of the bandage could be found, then police had the killer.

There were thousands of troops stationed in the North West, but a waitress came forward to say a soldier with a cut on his face had asked her if he could clean up in her house, claiming to have been in a fight. A month earlier, a cyclist Anne McVittie, had been robbed by a soldier on a canal bank a mile from where Mary was killed and the descriptions in both incidents were familar. 

Seventeen days after the murder, Irish guard Samuel Morgan was picked up by police in London after being found huddled in a shop doorway. He had a healed scar on his thumb and Bootle detectives went to bring him back to Liverpool, initially just in connection with the robbery on Annie. 

Morgan's house at Berkely Drive in Seaforth was searched and a bandage cloth was found which matched that from the murder scene. Soil samples from there were also found on his uniform. Witnesses identified Morgan as having been seen near the scene of the crime and the landlord of the Royal Hotel said he had been in his pub the same night, sporting a bloodstained cap. Morgan's boots also matched a cast taken from the footprint found next to the body.

Faced with this evidence, Morgan admitted robbing cigarettes and money from Mary and dragging her into the blockhouse, but said somebody else must have carried out the rape and murder. The Director of Public prosecutions ordered that he be charged with murder, with the robbery and rape to remain on trial in case he was found not guilty. The jury though found his explanation that another man had appeared on the scene after he left too far fetched and he was found guilty without much deliberation. He was hanged on 4th April 1941 and never made any confession of the crime.

No comments:

Post a Comment