Towpath murders

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The towpath murders was a case that involved the murder of two teenage girls on the towpath near Teddington Lock on the River Thames, England, on 31 May 1953. The case garnered a great deal of press attention and was described at the time as "one of Scotland Yard's most notable triumphs in a century".


The victims were 16-year-old Barbara Songhurst and 18-year-old Christine Reed. The girls had been on a bicycle trip on Sunday, 31 May 1953, and were seen cycling along the towpath beside the River Thames at about 11am. They failed to return home. Songhurst's body was found the next day on 1 June, the day before Queen Elizabeth II's coronation, and Reed's body was found on 6 June. They were examined by pathologist Keith Mant. Both had been beaten and raped.


Alfred Charles Whiteway, separated from his wife and living with his parents in Teddington, was arrested after two later attacks on women in Surrey. At first, he denied any involvement. Later, an axe was found hidden in his car. It was lost, and found at the house of a police constable, who was using it to chop wood. Forensic tests linked traces of blood on the axe, and on...
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