Mystery – Erdington, England

There are cases that are cut and dry, police know who did it and the perpetrator is convicted, justice served, the victim can rest in peace. There are cases, that take a little work, get a lucky break, or simply unable to convict the person. There are cases that remain a mystery, and then there are controversial cases, that seem to be too odd to be real, and too odd to not be connected. The case in Erdington, England is one of the odd cases.

When multiple cases of murdered victims come to the homicide unit, detectives may review evidence and try to link the cases, the evidence in both cases from Erdington, would easily lead a detective to believe it was one killer.

Here is the evidence between the two cases:

Case #1Case #2
Victim – Young WomanVictim – Young Woman
Age – 20 years oldAge – 20 years old
Last known activity – DancingLast known activity – Dancing
Date of demise – May 27Date of demise – May 27
Location of victim – ditch on the edge of Pype Hayes ParkLocation of victim – muddy pool, in Pype Hayes Park
Prime Suspect – Mr. ThorntonPrime Suspect -Mr. Thornton

There is only one problem with connecting the two cases to one killer, the crimes were committed 157 years apart. To add even more eerie coincidence both of the Mr. Thorntons were acquitted, and therefore the crimes remain unsolved.

Case #1 – May 27, 1974, Barbara Forrest.

She was a nurse at a children’s home and was found on the edge of Pype Hayes Park, a ward of Birmingham, England. The night before she had been murdered, Barbara was out dancing. When she was found, it was learned she was raped and strangled, and the suspicion fell onto Mr. Michael Ian Thornton who had lived nearby.

Michael Thornton had blood on his pants, and his alibi for the night in question proved to be false. Michael came under suspicion as he had known the victim, as they had worked together. Since this was before DNA, the evidence was circumstantial, and he was acquitted.

This was a tragedy itself but would probably not have garnered as much attention if it hadn’t been for an almost identical report from 1817. 157 years earlier.

Case #2 – May 27, 1817, Mary Ashford.

Mary Ashford was found in a muddy pool and footsteps belonging to a man were in the mud next to her. Mary was found with bruises on her arms, and it was suspected that he was raped before being killed. She had spent the night before her murder out dancing, and one of her partners was Mr. Abraham Thornton, who was later arrested.

Abraham Thornton admitted to having sexual intercourse after the dance but stated it was consensual. It was determined that Mary died of drowning. There was a strong opinion that Abraham had committed the crime, but as with the case of Barbara Forrest, there was no direct evidence, and he was acquitted of both murder and rape.

Sadly, both cases remained unsolved, and before we finish our review, I leave you with more coincidence, the final words of the victims:

{She had some} “bad feelings about the week to come.”

-Mary Ashford speaking to a friend’s mother

“This is going to be my unlucky month. I just know it.”

-Barbara Forrest speaking to a co-worker.

Both of the girls’ predictions would both come eerily true within days.

Stay Curious my Friends!

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