A number of people saw the killer, one of them probably even saw the murder, and someone else saw him dumping the body. Yet incredibly, he was never caught.

The victim was Mrs. Diana Suttey, a 35-year-old hospital orderly, whose strangled body was found among bushes at Leverstock Green, Hertfordshire, on Friday, September 7th, 1956. Despite 65,000 statements collected from car owners, the killer vanished into thin air.

A farmer’s wife actually talked to the killer when the car he was driving with Mrs. Suttey as his passenger stopped while he asked where the lane led. Later two schoolboys on their bikes saw the killer bending over his victim in the back of the parked car – “lovemaking,” they thought. The police thought this could have been the actual moment of murder.

A little later still, a mile from where the car was first seen parked, three other boys saw a grey-haired man aged about 50, wearing kid gloves, carry something bulky from the back seat of a car. As he hauled his burden through ferns they saw a foot protruding from the mackintosh wrapping.

They thought the car number was SUU 138. They were mistaken – that number belonged to a three-wheel milk float. Every permutation of the number failed to yield up the car owner.

Described by the coroner at her inquest as “a loose woman,” Diana Suttey was known to have frequented caf?s on the A5 between Markyate and Redbourne. Having examined her body, Detective Superintendent Albert Griffin later recorded: “She had plainly been strangled. I could see the fold marks of a tightened scarf around the front of her neck, and her face was suffused and shot with tiny asphyxial haemorrhages. Her skirt was rucked up and she wore no panties.”

The witnesses also included a van driver, and a farm labourer who had to manoeuvre his car past the killer’s vehicle on a bend in a narrow lane. Putting together all the information from the eight eye-witnesses, the man appeared to be 50 to 55, thick-set, about 5ft 8in, with a tanned, oval face and an appearance that suggested he could be Italian. Unusually for a man, his greying hair was parted on the right.

It seemed that everything was known about him except his identity. That must have made him one of the luckiest killers ever to get away with murder.