A length of string had been wrapped tightly round 11-year-old Sheila Attwood’s neck, and she had been raped and strangled. She had disappeared on AUGUST 1st, 1951, and her body was found the next day under the hedge enclosing a public maintenance yard near her home.

The police did not have to look far for her killer. Horace Carter, a 30-year-old labourer, lived next door to Sheila in the Birmingham suburb of Kingstanding, and he was arrested within three hours of her body’s discovery.

He admitted luring Sheila to his home with the promise of sweets, and said he took her to his bedroom and raped her. “Fearing that she would tell,” he told the police, “I got a pillow and shoved it under her head. After that I knelt on her arms and whipped the pillow from underneath her head and shoved it over her face.

“She struggled for a bit, so to finish her off more quickly I shoved my fingers around her throat. After that she stopped struggling, but she was still breathing so I decided to use the string…”

Convicted of murder, Carter was hanged on New Year’s Day, 1952.