Margaret Cook

Margaret Cook, Source: National Post

Age: 26

November 10 1946

Outside Blue Lagoon Club, 50 Carnaby Street, Soho, London, England

Margaret was born in the northern textile hub of Bradford. She appears to have had a troubled childhood. Abandoned shortly after her birth to unidentified parents somewhere in Bradford (West Yorkshire) on an unspecified date in 1920, the unnamed female child was legally adopted by Mrs Dorothy Gladys Willis of Swain House Road in Bolton, who had no children of her own and named her Margaret Willis. With no formal education, training or qualifications, all that is known of her formative years is that she spent a short while in borstal (which is a brutal juvenile prison), repeatedly ran away from home

In 1946 Margaret worked at the Blue Lagoon as an “exotic dancer” and torch singer and the investigation of her murder was complicated by the fact she used several names. Margaret was forever changing her appearance from brunette to blonde to redhead, not just to keep abreast with the latest fashion, but to evade the West End police with whom she was very well acquainted having been arrested in an impressively short period for an unspecified number of charges for theft, robbery and solicitation, and always under a variety of different aliases.

Widely known by those who knew her as a woman of mystery, Margaret Cook was incredibly secretive about what she did, where she lived and who she shared her life with, with many friends nicknaming her “sealed lips” and the local police giving her the moniker of “Milady”, owing to her love of putting of a posh affectation to her voice, pose and mannerisms, as if she was better off than she actually was, and was disguising her real roots, background and identity. And although we know that she briefly lived with a female friend in Devonshire Terrace in the East End, during the 18 months that she lived in London she also lived in at least 20 different locations, rarely returning to the same place twice.

Margaret was married in Bradford the year before her murder to Joseph Cook, a 24-year-old labourer, who was demobbed a year earlier. But Margaret left Joseph soon after and headed for London, living at Devonshire Terrace, Bayswater. Little more is known of Joseph, other than three days after Margaret’s murder, he appeared in a Bradford court with Irene Eckerall, 25, both charged with stealing clothing and food worth £20 from a lodging house. In London, Margaret continued to wear a platinum wedding ring, although one newspaper reported it was not known if she was actually married.

In a report on her murder, the same paper said Margaret’s friends believed she was a frightened woman before her death and thought a man was trying to get money from her. Another paper reported she had been warned that her new boyfriend carried a revolver – but no one knew his name.

On the night of her murder, Margaret was seen walking the streets around the Piccadilly. Margaret was shot dead in a narrow passageway close to the Blue Lagoon`s entrance. The location of the killing, the Carnaby Street, would later become famous as a fashion hub in the Sixties. The Beatles and Rolling Stones played shows in the building that once housed the Blue Lagoon. In the 1940s and for many years after, however, it was London`s seedy underbelly and the Blue Lagoon was notorious as a front for prostitution. An Associated Press report at the time described Soho as a “region of street vendors, restaurants and foreigners”.

A former policeman noticed a man and Margaret arguing and Margaret shouted “This man has got a gun!”. But the man said “Get on your way, chum, this has nothing to do with you.” The ex cop kept walking, then heard a shot and saw the man running away. Three people chased the shooter but lost him in a crowd.

In 2015 a 91-year-old cancer patient admitted to the killing of Margaret. The man, who now lives in Canada, admitted to shooting Margaret with a Russian WWI pistol 70 years prior. He said she had cheated him out of cash. The war veteran had left the U.K. five years after the murder and married and raised a family in Ontario. He became a Canadian citizen and now lives in a care home. He confessed to the crime after being diagnosed with skin cancer because he wanted to clear his conscience. He could not remember the victim`s name, however detectives from Scotland Yard flew out to Canada and showed him photos from unsolved murders. He picked out the picture of Margaret.

There is a police file on the yet unsolved murder at the U.K. National Archives, due to be released publicly in 2024, unless the British courts get to try the case first.

  • prostitutionmurders/uk/margaret_cook.txt
  • Zuletzt geändert: 2019/11/04 11:57
  • von hanna