Who strangled part-time prostitute Mary McLeod, 52, at her flat in Fleur-de-lis Street, Stepney, on Saturday, July 25th, 1942? It wasnt me, said neighbour Thomas Bragg, a 44-year-old labourer. I was in another part of London all that day.
Very soon, though, it was discovered he was lying. He had been with Mrs. McLeod earlier on the Saturday evening she was murdered. He was promptly arrested and charged at the Old Bailey with her murder.
There was to be something of a shock for the prosecution when the judge, Mr. Justice Hallett, opened by saying he had read the depositions the previous day and could not allow the trial to proceed. There is no evidence against Mr. Bragg other than his lying, which he did because he was embarrassed about seeing Mrs. McLeod, the judge said.
He thought it was surprising that the police had not interviewed other men who were entertained by Mrs. McLeod, especially as a neighbour claimed she saw a man go up to Mrs. McLeods room at 11.45 that Saturday night, and that man was not Bragg.
The judge ordered a formal not guilty verdict and Bragg was released.