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UK The Charles Walton Witchcraft Murder: Warwicks-hire, England - 14 Feb 1945

Discussion in 'Europe: Cold Cases' started by Blue G 3, Mar 20, 2019.

  1. Blue G 3

    Blue G 3 Well-Known Member

    A Strange Man From A Small Village
    Think of a brutal crime that has remained unsolved for over 70 years and the villages of Upper and Lower Quinton in Warwickshire will not immediately spring to mind. Both villages are about as rural and sleepy as any other village throughout the whole of England.

    On Valentine’s Day 1945, 74 year old farm laborer, Charles Walton, made an early start to remove the hedges from the slopes of Meon Hill. Walton had lived and worked in Lower Quinton for his entire life and, despite his seniority and the onset of rheumatism, he continued light farm duties whenever possible. The popular and well-liked pensioner had his eccentric side but there were some people that regarded him with suspicions. In a village where everyone pretty much knew everyone else, all villagers knew that Walton had some quirks that set him aside from all others. Wild birds would flock towards Walton and feed on seeds direct from his hands. It is also said that he could tame and control wild and/or rabid dogs simply with the use of his voice. Walton was very much versed in the traditional ways of rural lore; too much for some people. Despite this, Walton could likely count the number of enemies on the fingers of one hand.
    Somebody did hate him though.
    The Murder of Charles Walton
    Walton shared his home with adoptive niece, Edie. When she returned from her own job at 6pm that evening, she was alarmed to discover that she was alone in the cottage. Fearing that perhaps he had fallen ill or worse, Edie and neighbor Harry Beasley set off to look for him. One witness at another farm did report seeing someone that was assumed to have been Walton trimming hedges off in the distance. The witness joined in the search and headed off towards where the person was seen. The search was a quick one and Walton was found horribly murdered in a ditch. His trouncing hook was embedded in his throat and he was impaled to the ground by the pitchfork so strongly that it took attending police officers to remove it. A large crucifix had been carved into his chest and blood from this wound had soaked into the ground beneath him.
    [​IMG]Charles Walton Crime Scene
    The investigation was initially handled by local superintendent Alec Spooner but a few days into the inquiry, Scotland Yard were contacted. Two senior Metropolitan detectives were sent from London and tasked with helping the local investigation. Detective Superintendent Robert Fabian and Sergeant Albert Webb met with Spooner and the trio eventually turned to the type of murderer they were after. Fabian was in agreement with Webb that whoever was responsible was simply a maniac. Spooner added his own take on who they were after by producing a book entitled Folklore, Old Customs and Superstitions in Shakespeareland.
    One part of this book had been highlighted by Spooner before the pair arrived from London. This passage recounted a similar event that took place in 1875. “A weak minded young man killed a woman named Ann Turner with a hayfork because he believed she had bewitched him“. Another passage in the same book told of a boy called Charles Walton who reported an encounter with a black dog for nine days running, a decade after the original death. On the final day it is seen, a headless woman accompanied it. Stories of black dogs are frequently made, especially in rural areas. Meon Hill is no exception and this phantom was supposed to herald the death of the witness. Is it possible that both Charles Walton’s were the same person?
    Ann Turner met her death at the hands of a local man called John Hayward. At his trial, Hayward believed he acted for the behalf of the whole community and that Turner had bewitched the land of the local farmers. Hayward admitted to pinning Turner to the ground with a pitchfork and cutting a sign of the cross into her neck. In Anglo-Saxon England, this was a traditional way to kill a witch.
     
    Lily likes this.
  2. Blue G 3

    Blue G 3 Well-Known Member

    Lily likes this.
  3. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    Here's an article I did on this case on Reddit:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/HistoricCr...warwickshire_witchcraft_murder_1945_part_one/

    This is one of those very old, very cold cases that affects me quite deeply. What a horrible way for anyone to die... and it's pretty clear he was alive while being beaten and cut. Charles was a harmless old man, who was kind to wildlife. Just breaks my heart, and that his brutal murderer never was caught.
     
    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed likes this.

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