Sweetshop owner Albert Hadfield called the police on Thursday, July 9th, 1936 and told them, “Go round to No. 126 Hampton Road, Twickenham. I think the place has been entered. There may be a body…”

“Why don’t you go in and check yourself?” the policeman taking the call asked.

“I’m too frightened,” Hadfield replied.

Mrs. Laura Mordaunt-Chapman, the wealthy widow who lived in the house, was a known recluse. Hadfield was one of the few people she ever allowed in – he was a friend who managed her property.

When the police arrived he went round the house with them and, sure enough, there was a body. Mrs. Mordaunt-Chapman lay in a bedroom doorway under a heap of clothing blackened and charred by fire. She had been dead for four days, having been stabbed 46 times by someone who had been driven to a frenzy, yet remained cool enough to try and set the body on fire in an attempt to obliterate evidence.

At sight of the body Hadfield exclaimed, “My God!” as if he were highly surprised, yet he had implied from the beginning that he expected to find something of the sort.

As much as anything because of his suspicious behaviour, he was charged with the murder and tried at the Old Bailey on September 23rd. There it became apparent that the case against him was nothing if not flimsy. The judge ordered the jury to find the sweetshop owner not guilty.

Evidence about two men seen lurking around the outside of the murder house after the murder was never followed up.