Mabel Bundy’s knickers had been pulled down and her blouse ripped open. She had been raped, her nose was broken and she had been killed by a heavy blow to the side of her head.
Her body was found shortly before 6.30 a.m. on JULY 5th, 1939, in the grounds of the Moorlands Hotel at Hindhead, Surrey, where she worked as a maid and had a room.
She was 42, short and dark-haired, and the police learned that she had spent the previous evening in the bar of Hindhead’s Royal Huts Hotel. The barman said she had come in with another woman, and the two had been joined by three soldiers. Then the other woman had left, and at closing-time the barman had heard one of the soldiers offer to walk Mabel back to the Moorlands Hotel.
Witnesses who had been in the bar at the Royal Huts Hotel were taken to an army camp at Thursley, three miles away, where the second battalion of the North Staffordshire Regiment was stationed. The entire battalion was
paraded, and the witnesses picked out the three soldiers who had been drinking with Mabel.
They were Privates Stanley Ernest Boon, 27; Arthur John Smith, 26 and Joseph William Goodwin, 29. All were arrested and taken to Farnham police station.
Blood of Mabel’s group was found on the clothes of Boon and Smith, who admitted that they had followed her for sex. Smith said he was first, Boon was to be second and Goodwin was to follow. But Smith said that after he’d had sex with Mabel she had panicked at the prospect of two more men mounting her.
Both Boon and Smith said she had been very friendly with them at the Royal Huts Hotel, and they assumed she would have sex with them. They had not intended to kill her.
Goodwin told the police that Boon had said, “We shall have to knock her out to get what we want.” He claimed he’d tried to pull Boon off Mabel after he saw him punch her in the face, and had only gone with the others to look after Boon, who was drunk. All three denied murder when they were tried at the Old Bailey, where Smith and Boon were convicted, and Goodwin was acquitted.
Because of ill-feeling between Smith and Boon – who blamed each other for what had happened – they were executed separately at Wandsworth Prison, Boon going to the scaffold on October 25th, 1939, and Smith following the next day.