Every Friday Ellen Kipling had dinner with her friend May Thompson. On Friday, February 15th, 1952, Ellen knocked on May’s door in William Street, Low Spennymoor, Co. Durham, and went in. May was lying in the kitchen. She had been stabbed 36 times, and bruising on her face suggested she had fought with her killer.

Her pay packet was untouched on the mantelpiece and no attempt had been made to rape her.

May, 18, a factory worker, wore thick glasses, spent her evenings knitting, had no boy friends and was described as “not pretty.” A Sunday newspaper claimed that she must have had a secret life and invited readers to send in their ideas. Despite a first prize of £10 and three runner-up prizes of a fiver each, the killer was never identified.