One moment eight-year-old Catherine Duncan was playing outside her home in Wellington Drive, Dagenham, east London, on SEPTEMBER 23rd, 1965. The next moment she had vanished. Neighbours who joined the police search for her included 18-year-old John Williams, who seemed as concerned as everyone else.
Then on October 5th Catherine’s naked, strangled body was found in a drawer at Williams’s Wellington Drive home. He told the police, “I strangled her. It was all over in a very short time.”
She had kept knocking at his door, wanting to speak to his mother, he said, and he had lost his temper. He stripped her, he claimed, because he couldn’t get her clothed body into the drawer.
He said he hadn’t gone to the police because on the following Saturday he was due to be best man at his brother’s wedding, and he didn’t want to let him down. Then he changed his story and said he had killed Catherine accidentally when he bumped into her while riding his scooter in the street. Panicking, he had carried her body to his house and hidden it.
Convicted of murder, he was sentenced to life imprisonment.