UK UK - Nellie Clarke, 11, Rock Ferry, Birkenhead, 10 Jan 1925

Discussion in 'Cold Cases' started by Robin Hood, Mar 21, 2011.

  1. Robin Hood

    Robin Hood New Member

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  3. not_my_kids

    not_my_kids New Member

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    If no one minds, I'd like to throw out some things that struck me just reading the link provided. They are the sort of things that I'm sure have been noticed and opined on before, but I like to put my thoughts in order for myself, so here goes.

    The way that she was left means that her killer wanted her to be found. To say there was no effort to conceal her would be an understatement. This is the kind of killer that screams "Look at me, look what I did." The rape may not have been any sign of pedophilia, but just more of that attempt to shock, considering the era that we are talking about. It very well could have been a pedo, but with the other earmarks, just as easily not.

    The fact that she was left in the place she was the most terriied of could be a sign that the killer knew her, or that the alley was just the darkest place that the killer could find. Seems he was the kind that wanted the world to know what he had done, without the world knowing it was him that did it, if you KWIM. However, the fact that the killer took double precautions, to not be seen and not be heard by the light sleeping neighbor, seems to indicate that he might have known the area and the residents. Or just that he was very careful. Could have gone either way. The man's dogs did not bark, so the killer may have known them, or simply been so quiet that they didn't awaken either. Or they detected the first smells of death and were frightened, as I have seen some dogs react that way in the presence of a corpse when normally they would go batty at the sight or sound of anything new.

    She was behaving out of character, from the descriptions that most everyone gave, however, I do wonder about the descriptions of her character. Once again, the era dictated that little girls be sweet and obedient. Those that were "somewhat bossy" and wandered by themselves, whether out of curiosity or any other reason, weren't the typical good girls. When your child has been murdered and you want a resolution, you describe them as a good girl, and I can easily see some of her personality traits being altered in description in order to get a better response. If the witnesses are to be believed, then she knew the stranger she was last seen with and he may have been grooming her for quite some time, and the self confidence that he gave her may have enabled her to do things like walk down dark back roads and venture away from her intended route.

    I do wonder about the other little girl that went missing and was then found wandering the streets, however, once again the time comes into play. It would have been hard for some officers of the day to see a child lying, if her condition seemed sincere. Or there is the possibility that the first pink note came from the killer playing a little trick and the pink paper from the second little girls room was given to her as a gift by the pedophile/killer, who was also grooming her. Maybe he found some humor in leaving a living child with her memory badly flawed. so that the police would go batty knowing they had a witness that could tell them nothing.

    It seems that she had eaten a meal after she went missing, according to her autopsy, and that makes me wonder if it was just further grooming, or if the food were laced with something that the autopsy could not detect. The intention may never have been to kill her, but to leave her wandering the streets, but something went wrong when she was drugged or she reacted in a way that the killer took offense too. The internal head injuries seem to indicate a level of rage.

    The other neighbor hearing a car pull up is interesting in that it further confuses things. The reports are that the suspect was seen on a bus, that he took a cab, that he was walking, and apparently all this while he had access to a vehicle if the reports of the neighbor that heard the idling car are correct. If the car report is accurate, it means that the account offered up on the pink paper is incorrect, as it depicts him carrying her. Not necessary to carry her through the alleys if she was indeed taken from a car. This to me, says that either the note was from the killer either playing games or trying to deflect or the report of the sounds of the car was incorrect.

    I do believe that the witness that heard her cry out about father christmas was simply mistaken in what he heard. He may have heard Nellie, but he may not have heard her correctly. The possibility remains for me however, since Nellie seems to have been a social child that did attend various events that perhaps her killer was someone that she had seen dressed as father christmas for the recently passed holiday.
     
  4. Robin Hood

    Robin Hood New Member

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    Excellent round up of events. I think you have made some great points.
     
  5. KariKae

    KariKae Member

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    The part about "ten past nine" also bothers me a little bit. It seems like a strange time to set a meeting. Why not 915? Unless she was supposed to leave her house at 9 and it took her 10 minutes to walk to the meeting spot.

    Also, this was not a planned outing. Her mother sent her to the store to pick something up.

    If she was supposed to meet up with someone at 910, was she supposed to sneak out of bed to do it?
     
  6. Robin Hood

    Robin Hood New Member

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  7. KarlK

    KarlK New Member

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    With regards to this second young girl (Rose Colley) and the pink stationery. I couldn't help but wonder if the first note hadn't been written by her. I have my doubts that a young woman out with a suitor would provide details about kissing him and such to the police as it wasn't relevant to the case, but I can very well see a younger girl fantasizing about romance doing such a thing, especially a troubled youngster as it appeared Colley might have been at the time. I don't think the Manchester postmark is of great significance, she could have have given the envelope to a friend to mail from there. That said I don't believe Colley knew anything about the murder.

    The car may have been a delivery truck or some other vehicle in the alley that had nothing to do with the case. As for having trouble with the gears anyone foolish enough to try and drive a 1920's model at an auto show -like yours truly once did- will testify that attempting to double-clutch hi-lo planetary gears and lacking any sort of power assist without grinding anything is nothing short of miraculous, nervous or not. :)
     
  8. yosande

    yosande ...

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    An excellent link. Thank you so much. It is indeed a very good indepth read.
    I agree with the conclusions of the author, and admire his sleuthing skills.

    Again, thank you for the link...
     
  9. not_my_kids

    not_my_kids New Member

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    I hadn't considered Rose writing the first note. Do you think they would have compared the handwriting between the two? Either way, I really don't believe there was a couple in the alley, it's possible, but it just doesn't fit. I agree with you on the postmark, and Rose not knowing anything about the murder, except that maybe she came into contact with the murderer. If she did, at least her outcome was better.

    The vehicle could have been anything or anyone, I agree. Could have been the killer, could have been a delivery guy, could have been the half awake dream of a guy that really wanted a car. No way of knowing, but I do think either they killer had a car or he didn't. No in between of using the bus, cab, and then car, unless the car was stolen, and I'm sure that any stolen car would have been reported and the connection made. So, since there are more reports that the killer was seen without the car, that would be the better idea. No car, unless he had one he could sneak away in, dump a body, clean thoroughly and replace without anyone noticing it was gone, which was highly unlikely, IMO.
     
  10. Robin Hood

    Robin Hood New Member

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    I agree with the author and yourself, IMO it's as solved as we're going to get.
     
  11. KarlK

    KarlK New Member

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    A handwriting comparison is not mentioned but then again there are many aspects of the investigation that seem to have gone unreported. If Colley didn't write both notes then my next guess would be a friend of hers was also implicated in the possible hoax, as could be expected from teens engaging in such activity. It may have been out of shame or panic that Rose ran away for two days but like someone else mentioned back in those days children were usually portrayed by the media as innocent and pure therefore if police had any doubts they weren't published.

    As for the car, I agree with you that if indeed there was one, it probably had nothing to do with the killer.
     
  12. KariKae

    KariKae Member

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    I agree...RIP Nelly
     
  13. wfgodot

    wfgodot Former Member

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    I'll not soon forget the phrase, "Help me, help me, Father Christmas is coming after me!"
     
  14. Han-Tastic

    Han-Tastic New Member

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    Just stumbled onto this thread and have read through the stories with interest - I just recently moved into the area Nellie lived in.

    I just wanted to add that in the second link to the story of what happened, it was mentioned that there was a father christmas at the party who gave Nellie the doll - could this have been the man who she was running from? Could he have spotted her at the party and followed her home?

    Obviously anyone involved in her death is more than likely long dead, but I wanted to give my thoughts anyway!
     
  15. Robin Hood

    Robin Hood New Member

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  16. STANDREID

    STANDREID A slacker when slacker wasn't cool

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    I have this case as #59 on my top 500 unsolved murders list. It was just called to my attention a couple of years ago on a JtR site. I only know the basic account and was wondering if sperm was found related to the rape.
     
  17. Robin Hood

    Robin Hood New Member

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    I have no idea Stan.
     
  18. STANDREID

    STANDREID A slacker when slacker wasn't cool

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    Serial killer Earle Leonard Nelson was supposedly a suspect in this case but his Wiki article says, "Nelson was released from the Napa mental institution in 1925". Even if he was released on January 1 of 1925, it would have been extremely difficult to get from CA to UK in 10 days (the fastest route would be train across the continent then ship across the Atlantic) so I'm not sure why he was considered a suspect unless the year of release was really 1924. Apparently, British police wanted to question him before he was hanged in Canada in 1928 but didn't get there in time. Most of Nelson's victims were older women but, when he first started out, he was attacking young girls.
     

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