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  1. #1
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    UK - Evelyn Foster, 27, Otterburn, Northumberland, 7 Jan 1931

    Cold case; hot topic.

    Northumberland Moors murder mystery: Evelyn Foster’s death (from Newcastle Chronicle)

    Burned beyond recognition Evelyn Foster gasped, ‘I have been murdered’ before breathing her last breath.

    Referring to herself in the past tense the 27-year-old knew her fate as she lay on her death bed in 1931.

    But how the mystery of how the well-known taxi driver came to suffer serious burns on the Northumberland moors was never solved.
    ---
    much more at link

  2. #2
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    A Murderpedia look at purported killer Ernest Brown.

    And here's the Hexham Courant article about the case:

    Was Evelyn killed by a dandy in a bowler hat?

    Personally, I think the case was a suicide, if, perhaps, an accidental one.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by wfgodot View Post

    <snip>

    Personally, I think the case was a suicide, if, perhaps, an accidental one.
    After reading the Chronicle Crime Files article, I thought of two things:

    • I wonder if Evelyn had a boyfriend, and
    • her murder immediately reminded me of Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers On A Train.

    Now I suppose that I should read the other material....*smile*

    ETA: In a cold case, we are restricted to only the material from the past. Since the inquest was a joke -- performed by someone with a bias -- it appears as if there really is little evidence. However several things caught my eye:

    • "Evelyn, daughter of an Otterburn garage owner, was not raped, she was not bruised where she said she was struck, and was thought to have been sitting in the burning car for some while. It would have been impossible for a man to drive the car sitting in the position she said her attacker had occupied." [from the TrueCrimeLibrary article]
      Who concluded this? Evelyn said that the man's hands were upon her in an indecent fashion ie. he probably began to grope about her breasts, and maybe even tried to slip his hand up her skirt. But the coroner's inquest seemed to be preoccupied with rape. Lastly, how and why did they determine that she had "been sitting in the burning car for some while?"
    • "She told him she had been bringing the taxi back from Low Byrness when a man got out of a car at Elishaw. There were two people in the parked car, a man and a woman, who had given him a lift from Jedburgh." [from the Hexham Courant article]
      Why was there no effort to find these parties?
    • An insurance scam for a measly 450-pounds, when the supposed prep has a bank balance of 500? Come on, get real...


    Poor Evelyn was victimized by a shoddy coroner's inquest, and by a coroner with a bias. Shame on him. Thankfully the jury saw through his stupidity.
    Last edited by ZOOL; 02-02-2015 at 02:10 PM.

  4. #4
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    I read Goodman's book about the case many years ago-a good read.

    There was a theory that she was trying to destroy her car for the insurance money and accidentally set herself on fire but there wasn't ever any evidence, that I've read about, that she was in any sort of financial difficulty. In fact, business seemed to be pretty good.

    It's one of the big four 1931 British unsolved murder cases along with Wallace, Chevis and Page.
    This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.


    Stan Reid

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by STANDREID View Post
    I read Goodman's book about the case many years ago-a good read.

    There was a theory that she was trying to destroy her car for the insurance money and accidentally set herself on fire but there wasn't ever any evidence, that I've read about, that she was in any sort of financial difficulty. In fact, business seemed to be pretty good.

    It's one of the big four 1931 British unsolved murder cases along with Wallace, Chevis and Page.
    Yeah, I read the Goodman ('The Burning of Evelyn Foster') long ago. I see there's a more current effort (Goodman was 1977), 2011's 'Evelyn Foster: Murder Or Fraud On The Northumberland Moors,' by Robert Dixon.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZOOL View Post
    After reading the Chronicle Crime Files article, I thought of two things:

    • I wonder if Evelyn had a boyfriend, and
    • her murder immediately reminded me of Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers On A Train.

    I love to run a bit off-topic so your mention of the Hitchcock film reminds me also of my favorite Sonic Youth song.


    Now I suppose that I should read the other material....*smile*

    ETA: In a cold case, we are restricted to only the material from the past. Since the inquest was a joke -- performed by someone with a bias -- it appears as if there really is little evidence. However several things caught my eye:

    • "Evelyn, daughter of an Otterburn garage owner, was not raped, she was not bruised where she said she was struck, and was thought to have been sitting in the burning car for some while. It would have been impossible for a man to drive the car sitting in the position she said her attacker had occupied." [from the TrueCrimeLibrary article]
      Who concluded this? Evelyn said that the man's hands were upon her in an indecent fashion ie. he probably began to grope about her breasts, and maybe even tried to slip his hand up her skirt. But the coroner's inquest seemed to be preoccupied with rape. Lastly, how and why did they determine that she had "been sitting in the burning car for some while?"
    • "She told him she had been bringing the taxi back from Low Byrness when a man got out of a car at Elishaw. There were two people in the parked car, a man and a woman, who had given him a lift from Jedburgh." [from the Hexham Courant article]
      Why was there no effort to find these parties?
    • An insurance scam for a measly 450-pounds, when the supposed prep has a bank balance of 500? Come on, get real...

    Poor Evelyn was victimized by a shoddy coroner's inquest, and by a coroner with a bias. Shame on him. Thankfully the jury saw through his stupidity.
    I think the coroner knew quite keenly the victim and her situation in life, and his instructions were to the point.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by wfgodot View Post
    I love to run a bit off-topic so your mention of the Hitchcock film reminds me also of my favorite Sonic Youth song.


    I think the coroner knew quite keenly the victim and her situation in life, and his instructions were to the point.
    You obviously know more about coroner for South Northumberland P.M. Dodds than I so why do you say "the coroner knew quite keenly the victim and her situation in life". To me, your statement implies a great deal of bias on the part of Dodds. If he was "quite keen" ought he not to have disqualified himself?

    OT: You brits always fascinate me with your appreciation for good music. Enjoy the Pindrop Band.
    Last edited by ZOOL; 02-02-2015 at 04:30 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZOOL View Post
    You obviously know more about coroner for South Northumberland P.M. Dodds than I so why do you say "the coroner knew quite keenly the victim and her situation in life". To me, your statement implies a great deal of bias on the part of Dodds. If he was "quite keen" ought he not to have disqualified himself?

    OT: You brits always fascinate me with your appreciation for good music. Enjoy the Pindrop Band.
    Thanks! But I'm a Kansan, lol.

    Here, I believe the young woman in question sought attention and in said seeking lay her unfortunate demise. Great case though.

  9. #9
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    Kansas, huh? Ha!

    "...sought attention"???

    Gee, I didn't extrapolate anything like that from the articles. If her mother and father had suspected that she was "seeking attention", I doubt seriously that they would have encouraged her to drive fares at night with dandys in bowler hats.

    Evelyn was an attractive woman; she would not have had an difficulty attracting the opposite sex. The fact that she was unmarried may have been due to her prudish attitude, and devout convictions.

    Her mistake appears to me to have been one of naive trust.

    At first her instincts caused her to be hesitant. But then when the cad exited a vehicle occupied by a man and a woman, I suspect that she overcame that hesitation. Later she popped into her mother's house, and said that the cad was "“very respectable and gentlemanly-like – he looked a bit of a knut (dandy).”

    So I doubt seriously that she was "seeking attention". If she had been, then she would not have driven home as a cautionary and secondary step with the man for her mother to observe him.

  10. #10
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    (Now concentrating all powers on re-finding Goodman book -- sold mine on eBay! argh! -- and locating the later tome by Mr Robert Dixon in thrifts for 99 cents and thus re-/capturing the knowledge to allow me to argue more efficiently! -- "...and, ZOOL, as Goodman points out in the penultimate paragraph on page 43," etc., etc.)


  11. #11
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    I wonder if she could have possibly been pregnant and this was not released.

    Anyway, it is possible that she was killed by someone she knew and was protecting him for unknown reasons as was the case with Margery Wren in the previous year.

    It could have been any of a number of things but I would go with murder, probably by someone we have not heard of in relation to the case.
    This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.


    Stan Reid

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by wfgodot View Post
    (Now concentrating all powers on re-finding Goodman book -- sold mine on eBay! argh! -- and locating the later tome by Mr Robert Dixon in thrifts for 99 cents and thus re-/capturing the knowledge to allow me to argue more efficiently! -- "...and, ZOOL, as Goodman points out in the penultimate paragraph on page 43," etc., etc.)
    I read the Goodman book out of the library so they may or may not still have it.
    This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.


    Stan Reid

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZOOL View Post
    Lastly, how and why did they determine that she had "been sitting in the burning car for some while?"
    I believe it was because the seat material was not as completely burned in the area where she had been sitting.
    This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.


    Stan Reid

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by STANDREID View Post
    I read the Goodman book out of the library so they may or may not still have it.
    Yeah, come to think of it, the copy I read (and then sold) was an ex-libris from San Antonio Public Library. (And this weekend's foray into the Boston 'burbs failed to produce a thrift shop score of it, so am still on the prowl for a copy.)

  15. #15
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    Great case; history, an odd one; deserves a bump even if it is my own.



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