England · Newspaper clippings

Man beats, strangles woman to death to prove himself capable of the “perfect murder”

August 3, 1951
Nottingham, East Highlands, England
19-year-old Herbert Leonard Mills bludgeons and strangles Mabel Tattershaw (47) to prove he could commit a “perfect murder”

Mills had met his victim the day before the murder. They scheduled to meet August 3 where Mills led Tattershaw to a secluded area, beat her head repeatedly, strangled her, and left her body. Hoping to see the frustration of police while they were unable to solve this crime, Mills became impatient when Tattershaw’s body had not been discovered by August 9.

Mills contacted a newspaper, News of the World, about the discovery of Tattershaw’s body and demanded money for his story. The news staff asked if he had called police yet, and notified authorities when they learned Mills has not contacted the police.

He provided a story for the newspaper, which was more of a confession to the murder than of a discovery of a crime scene, and the letter was promptly given to police. When being questioned, Mills also noted Tattershaw had been strangled, but as her head had been visibly smashed, which a person not involved with the crime would attribute to the method of killing, police became suspicious of Mills.

The investigation found fibers of Mills’ suit beneath Tattershaw’s nails and hairs from Mills’ head on the victim. Mills was tried for murder in November 1951 and hanged December 11, 1951.

Newspaper article from The Sydney Morning Herald, September 20, 1951

Related: Leopold and Loeb attempt a “perfect murder” (1924)

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