November 17, 1943
Luton, Bedfordshire, England
Horace William Manton argues with his wife, beats her face with a stool until he kills her and she is unrecognizable, strips her naked, stuffs her in a sack, and dumps her in a river
Caroline Manton was pregnant when her husband had enough of “her goings-on.” He choked and beat her to death, then battered her face to make identification difficult. To further make her identity hard to prove, he stripped her naked before dumping her body and wiped all areas of the home clean of fingerprints.
Caroline’s body was discovered the day after her murder and a forensics team reconstructed her face using wax adhesive tape then posted photographs of the more recognizable victim around the area. During the months of investigation, a lead brought investigators to a piece of “torn, slimy material” which was found to be a dyer’s mark. The mark lead to a local cleaner’s whose books showed the piece had been torn from Caroline’s coat.
Police had questioned Horace regarding his wife’s absence, though he initially claimed she had left him to live with her brother and provided letters he claimed were sent from her after the woman’s body had been found. Handwriting experts compared the letters to a sample provided by Horace which confirmed he had written it, including a word misspelled the same way in both the letters and writing sample, and a fingerprint team found a single fingerprint belonging to Caroline on a pickle jar in the back of a cupboard. Confronted with the evidence, Horace confessed. He was sentenced to death in 1944 though his term was commuted to life. He died of unspecified causes in jail in 1947.
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Article from The Age (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) May 23 1944