It was only a womans arm. It was found on the beach at Torry, on the south side of the navigation channel at Aberdeen docks. The rest of the corpse was missing, and in fact was never found. But just the arm was enough to identify the woman, and to establish that she had been murdered.
For the hand was still attached to the arm, and that was sufficient to get a fingerprint. As luck would have it in this case, the print was on file, for its owner, 18-year-old Elizabeth Betty Hadden, had once been arrested for some minor offence.
Medical experts deduced that both a saw and a knife were used to dismember the arm. The size of the saw and the pressure the killer had exerted could be judged from the marks it made on the bone and from the point at which the bone had splintered.
Betty Haddens photos were on file with her fingerprints. They showed a sulky teenager with shoulder-length brunette hair. She had been both a kitchen maid and a waitress and, it seems, preferred flirting to work, for several hours before she disappeared on Wednesday, December 12th, 1945, she was seen arm in arm with two sailors. That evening she was said to have given three other sailors the glad eye in Market Street.
Police established that at about 2 a.m. on December 12th screams described as being made by a female in terror were heard by several people at different points in the Torry area. Was this Betty Hadden, they wanted to know?
They decided to re-enact the mystery womans screams in the night. Women volunteers each took a turn in screaming at the top of their lungs in various places in the area. The idea was to judge the reaction of Torry residents but not a single bedroom light was flicked on, not one lace curtain twitched. The test consequently failed, leaving unsolved the provenance of the original screams, and unsolved, too, the murder of Betty Hadden.