Returning home from the Continent on the afternoon of MAY 10th, 1954, Mrs. Margaret Rennie found that the door of her Kensington flat seemed to be jammed. On forcing it open, she found the obstruction was her mother’s body. Mrs. Violet McGrath had been strangled with one of her stockings, and £25 was missing from her handbag.
The woman occupant of the flat above told the police that around midnight she had heard several bangs and “then a gasping noise as if someone was choking for breath. There were about three or four noises like that and then absolute silence. I knew the noise was made by a woman.”
She said she had gone into her mother’s bedroom, telling her jokingly that it sounded as if someone was being murdered.
Scratches on the victim’s hands looked as if they could have been inflicted by manicured fingernails, which raised the possibility that the killer was a woman. But the stocking with which Mrs. McGrath had been strangled had been ripped from her right leg. Its suspender clip was still attached to it, and it was thought that if the killer were a woman she would have unfastened it.
An inquest jury found that the victim had been strangled by a person or persons unknown, and the murder remains unsolved.