Margaret Schofield

Age: 57

Friday, January 2 1931

Ebenezer Street (Back Robinson Street), Dewsbury

Margaret Schofield lived at 23 South Woodbine Street, Dewsbury where she had been since 1929 with another woman and the woman’s husband. She was a weaver but had been unemployed for about six months and at the time was drawing 15/- dole. Her landlady described her as a strong healthy woman and said that she usually took a drink of beer. She said that she last saw her go out on the Friday night, 2 January 1931 at 6pm and that was the last time she saw her.

Further enquiries revealed that Margaret had been supplementing her dole money by prostitution. She had been seen heading towards Robinson Street at 10:25 that night; she kept looking back as if expecting someone to follow her.

Margaret was discovered at about 10:55 pm by store manager of Messrs. Lidbetter Sons & Co., Grocers and Provision Merchants John Sprentall on the night of January 2 , who informed a policeman, PC Arthur Edward Kidd , who was on duty near the taxi rank.

Margaret was naked from the waist down and part of her upper clothing was missing. Her head was covered with bundles of celery tons. She had been beaten repeatedly on the head. None of the blows was delivered by anyone of any real strenght. She had a gag in her mouth and was still alive and she was taken away on a stretcher and put into an ambulance, but she died before it got to Dewsbury hospital.

The autopsy stated that she had died from haemorrhage and shock from wounds on her face. Some of the wounds to her face were thought to have been caused by a bottle whilst a wound inside her vagina was thought to have been caused by another implement. At the scene, they also found a bottle with blood on it and hairs. It was a one-pint bottle labelled R Whitaker & Sons, Brewers, Halifax, Standard stout, Specially brewed for invalids. It contained half a pint of beer and was closed with a screwed-in stopper. A December issue of the Burnley Express and Advertiser was also found.

The killer had taken her fur-trimmed coat and threw it into the River Calder a few hundred yards away. John Sprentall said that he had been inspecting the garage for 16 years and said that it was not unusual to find couples in the yard and that the place was resorted by prostitutes.

There were two confessions to her murder, one ten years later by a destitute cobber, who was quickly established as innocent. Also another one in 1941 a man that had been in a pub nearby where Margaret Schofield had also been, confessed to her murder but after he retracted it. However, it was the medical examiners opinion that he was insane when he made it and he was not tried. The case remains unsolved.

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