Under cover of a dark and bitterly cold night of Friday January 20th, 1961, a man parked his car in a lane in Polstead Heath, Suffolk, carried the body of a little girl across a field for about 20 yards and laid her down beside a ditch and a hawthorn hedge. Before he went back to his car he covered her with her mackintosh.

The girl was Linda Smith, 12, of Earls Colne, Essex, and the place where her body was laid was just a mile from the infamous Red Barn where in 1827 William Corder, a penniless tenant farmer, murdered his girl friend Maria Marten.

Linda, the daughter of a foundry worker, disappeared four days earlier while on her way to pay a newspaper bill. Her abductor drove 18 miles across the county border into Suffolk to dump her body. His car was seen by a 17-year-old schoolgirl who remembered a “darkish” car reversing down Potts Lane. Some hours later Mrs. Edna Humphrey, lying awake, heard the car start up again and drive past her home to the edge of the field.

Linda was strangled with her own scarf. The 10 shillings for the newspaper bill was still in her purse.

Polstead’s notorious killer William Corder was publicly hanged at Bury St. Edmunds on August 11th, 1828. There was no such retribution in the case of little Linda Smith, whose murderer has never been found.