The alarm was raised when Muriel Maitland, mother of two, failed to appear at work on Tuesday, April 30th, 1957. Three days later her body was found in dense undergrowth in Cranford Woods, near Heathrow Airport. She had been raped, repeatedly punched in the face – blows which had broken her nose and smashed her front teeth – then suffocated and strangled.

In October that year Mrs. Maitland’s coat was found and in July the following year her bicycle was found in the Grand Union Canal, 300 yards from the murder scene. Neither object yielded any clues about the murderer.