Unsolved Una Crown Murder
How the trail went cold
Ten years on the unexplained murder of 86-year-old Una Crown of Magazine Lane, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, UK remains unsolved.
On the morning of January 13th 2013, the body of an 86-year-old retired postmistress Una Crown was discovered by her niece’s husband, John. She had been left face down in a pool of blood, surrounded by burnt remains of newspapers in her bungalow.
Strangely, the police that attended the scene originally believed the death was not suspicious. Officers drew the assumption that the 86-year-old had somehow set herself alight by accident and the cuts to her neck had been caused by a scarf that she had been wearing when she fell.
The suggestion was that the pensioner had accidentally set her tea towel alight on a faulty cooker hob ring, had panicked, suffered a heart attack and died. Yes, I see it as a foolish hypothesis as well.
When the post-mortem examination stated something completely different had happened to the pensioner the police opened a full murder enquiry. Unfortunately due to the original presumption, the scene of the crime was not secured and indeed the floor had been washed, removing vital forensic evidence. People had obviously been in and out of the property cleaning up, touching doors, walking on the floors and so removing vital forensic clues.
The post-mortem revealed that Una had been stabbed repeatedly in the neck and chest and was then set on fire. Injuries to her hands revealed that she had actually put up a fight and had probably struggled with her killer.
Pathologists stated that the wounds inflicted upon Una were from a long-bladed knife which was not thought to have been in her bungalow, suggesting that the killer brought his weapon with him and took it away afterwards. If this is correct then this indicates a killer went to the pensioner’s home with the intent to kill, but why?
Why on earth would anyone set out to kill an elderly lady who had worked hard all of her life and owed nothing to anyone? It is believed that robbery was not really a motive as although a wedding ring and £40 in cash seemed to be missing from the bungalow it can only be presumed that they had been stolen.
Detective inspector David Grierson appeared on a BBC Crimewatch reconstruction appeal and told viewers he believed that the items had been stolen but that was all, He explained that Mrs Crown had been a very security-conscious lady, particularly as she had been a postmistress she would have been used to keeping the post office secure. This of course suggests that Una let the killer in as opposed to a break-in taking place but there seems to be no suggestion that she knew her killer.
Una’s niece, Judy Payne said she will never rest until justice is done for her aunt. She said that whilst she doubts that the killer will ever be found the case could have been solved had it not been for “big police mistakes”.
Mrs Payne said: “We had no idea how she could have done that herself and the fact that she was lying face-down in the hall, one slipper was off, there was no way on this earth that could have been an accidental death for auntie.
“She’d put up a fight somewhere along the line… at the time we just took the police’s word for it.”
When asked if she thought the case could have been solved without police errors she said “I think it would’ve been solved, if the police couldn’t see that that was something that she couldn’t do to herself, laying in pools of blood, you know, it doesn’t bear thinking about.”
Mrs Payne has been told by the police that the only real way that the case will be solved now is by a DNA match being made if an offender is arrested for another crime and the DNA matched. This is, in my opinion, disgraceful, an old lady has been murdered in cold blood and the police seem to simply say “oh well not much we can do now, sorry we lost the evidence”.
On the tenth anniversary of the murder, Detective Chief Inspector Iain Moore appealed to the public for information saying: “We still believe the answer to solving this case lies within the local community. I am urging anyone who has information but not yet come forward, to do the right thing and get in touch — someone out there knows what happened to Mrs Crown.”
In response to criticisms, he said: “We recognise the failings by our officers in the initial stages of this investigation and we are deeply sorry for any hurt this caused and still causes Mrs Crown’s family.
Well, I have to say that in my time in this line of work, I am seeing too many investigations failed by police not doing their job properly and this is just not acceptable. I hope as part of the documentary series that the team are working on we can highlight some of the unacceptable failings of police officers which have led to cases going cold and unsolved, with families not getting the answers that they deserve.
There are people missing out there that could have been found and murders unsolved that could have seen the perpetrators where they belong behind bars due solely to police errors and failure. I feel it is time our government got off their backsides and ‘warmed up’ a number of cold cases and got the justice that they deserve.
I will leave this one there and be back with another case very soon. I hope that you will help me to put in the work that these cases need by clicking the link HERE and buying me a coffee. I don’t want to put my work behind paywalls such as Patreon so your support would be appreciated.
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