Sunday, 31 July 2011

Murder Mystery of Locked Garage - Vivian Messiter

Daily Mirror dated Saturday January 12th 1929

On January 10, 1929 the body of Vivian Messiter was found in a locked garage used as a storeroom by the Wolf's Head Oil Company in Southampton.  He had been missing for 9 weeks.

At first the police thought he had been shot but Sir Bernard Spilsbury, the famous Home Office pathologist, discovered that death was caused by hammer blows.
Various clues led to the arrest of William Henry Podmore, who was known to the police, being wanted for a charge of fraud in Manchester. He was brought in for questioning but there was not enough evidence to charge him with the murder, so he was tried on the fraud charge and jailed. In the meantime the police continued investigating and fourteen months after the murder finally had enough evidence to try Podmore.
The murder trial was held in Winchester and William Podmore was found guilty and was hanged on April 22, 1930 despite some public outcry against the verdict.

The idea of a tunnel to join England to France was original proposed as far back as 1802.  In 1881 exploratory tunnels were started at each end, but abandoned when Britain pulled out of the project amid fears that the tunnel would be an invasion risk.  The Channel Tunnel was finally opened in May 1994, and, as far as I know, Hasting has yet to be overrun by Frenchmen. 

I just hope no phone hacking was involved in getting this story.  
Frederick Atkinson was an artist who committed suicide when told by friends of the unfaithful ways of his girlfriend, the artist’s model Dolores.  She’d had 2 other lovers commit suicide before Frederick, had modelled for Jacob Epstein and Augustus John among many others, had been married 4 times, appeared on the stage in a self penned melodrama of her affair with Atkinson and ended up as a side-show exhibit as ‘The Fasting Woman’ – she was actually dying of cancer.  She was 40 years old when she died in 1934.

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