Murder of Vera Page
The murder of Vera Page is a British unsolved murder case from the early 1930s. On 16 December, 1931, 10-year-old Vera Page's body was found in undergrowth on Addison Road in Notting Hill, London. It was believed she had been murdered elsewhere and then transported to this location. Percy Orlando Rush was questioned about the murder but police were unable to discover enough evidence to charge him.
Vera Isobel Minnie Page was born on 13 April, 1921 in Hammersmith, London. On 14 December, 1931, Page left her home on Blenheim Crescent, Notting Hill, London at 4:30 p.m. to walk the 50 yards to where her aunt lived. When she had not returned home by 5:30 p.m., her father paid a visit to her aunt, who said she had left at around 4:45 p.m. A friend had seen Page outside a chemist's. Page's father then reported she was missing. Two days later, her body was found in the bushes by a house at Addison Road, Kensington, close to Holland Park, about a mile from her home; she had been raped and strangled.
The police thought she had been murdered elsewhere and later dragged into the undergrowth alongside the road. Her remains were examined by Sir Bernard Spilsbury, who discovered coal dust and candle wax on the girl's body, as well as a piece of ammonia-stained finger bandage lodged against her inner elbow, which had likely dislodged from the hand of her murderer as he deposited her body.
This coal dust, plus the candle wax upon Page's clothing, led Spilsbury to the conclusion that the girl's body had been hidden in a coal cellar prior to her disposal at Addison Road, and that this cellar most likely had no electric light, as evidenced by the presence of candle wax also found upon the victim's clothing. One coal cellar close to Addison Road was found with its door ajar, and investigators theorised the girl's body had been hidden in this cellar after her murder.
Over a thousand people were questioned about the murder of Vera Page, with one individual stating that during the very early morning of 15 December she had seen a man fitting the description of one Percy Orlando Rush pushing a wheelbarrow covered with a red table-cloth in the direction of Addison Road. Rush quickly became the prime suspect. He was a forty-year-old married man, who worked as a flannel washer in a nearby launderette, and in this occupation he had regularly come into contact with ammonia. Furthermore, he had injured a finger on his left hand in his workplace less than a week prior to Page's murder, and freely admitted to having worn a finger bandage since this date. Unremarked upon at the February, 1932 inquest into Page's murder was the fact that Rush had been previously found guilty of exposing himself to girls.
Rush was never officially charged with the murder of Vera Page. No eyewitness accounts could place him with Page on the day of her death, and no chemist could recall having sold bandages to Rush. Though his movements were never verified, Rush claimed that on 14 December he had finished work and immediately travelled to Kensington. He died in 1961.
- Murder in the 1930s p. 56
- Douglas Gordon Browne; E. V. Tullett (1951). Bernard Spilsbury: his life and cases. Harrap. p. 311.
- The Glasgow Herald 22 Dec., 1931
- Murder in the 1930s p. 62
- Murder in the 1930s p. 62
- The Age 12 Feb., 1932
- Colin Wilson (1989). Written in blood: a history of forensic detection. Equation. p. 367. ISBN 1-85336-055-4.
- Unsolved London Murders: The 1920s and 1930s p, 123