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Landlady Murdered in Brussels

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Landlady Murdered in Brussels

Post by Karen on Sat 2 Apr 2011 - 1:39


Police Baffled Through Mistake in Photographer's Index.



Detectives of two capitals were also making searching investigation in London yesterday into a mysterious murder of a woman in Brussels.
It was the dramatic discovery of an English girl's photograph - published today in The Daily Mirror - which has brought Belgian detectives to London. They are searching for an Englishman known as William Wilson (and also as Welson and Betts), who disappeared from a boarding-house in the Rue Linne, Brussels, where the landlady, Mme. Sauvrain, was found strangled.
The photograph, unframed, of an attractive-looking girl was found in a book left in the room where the crime was committed. Inquiries showed that the portrait was taken at Stacey Ward's studios, 346, Battersea Park-road, on February 29, 1908.
But inquiries at the studios showed that the negative of the photograph cannot be traced, and so the identity of the girl remains a mystery.
It is thought that the missing man, whose name is Wiliam Wilson, has come to England, and all yesterday two Belgian police officers, assisted by Scotland Yard detectives, were endeavouring to find the whereabouts of the wanted man, and also the English girl whose photograph has so dramatically come into their hands.


The facts of this remarkable case are these: -

On New Year's Day an Englishman, named William Wilson (or Welson), took a room on the first floor of an apartment house at No. 16, Rue Linnes, Brussels, kept by Mme. Marie Antoinette Sauvrain.
Last Tuesday night Mme. Sauvrain, who was fifty-two years old, was found dead at the house by one of the other lodgers.
Her pet dog was standing guard over the body and whining piteously. On the approach of the lodger he barked furiously and snapped at him.
It is believed that the woman was strangled with a strap and robbed of 40 pounds, which she carried in her pocket.
William Wilson had disappeared from the house, and suspicion at once fell upon him.
The only things he left behind were his pince-nez, a stick, and an English grammar book, containing the photograph of a handsome-looking English girl.

Wilson was described to The Daily Mirror by Assistant Commissioner Ertel of Brussels as a tall man, forty-five years of age, with a round face, regular features, clean-shaven and light hair.
His blue eyes have rather a sly or shifty look, and his hands are well formed and have evidently been carefully tended. His hands are said to have the whiteness and softness of a woman's.
Wilson is a dentist's mechanic by occupation.
The work of the detectives has been made all the harder by reason of the fact that the negative cannot be traced.


On inquiry at the Battersea studios The Daily Mirror was informed by Mr. W. Fry, the present manager, that a mistake in indexing made before his time had thrown all the police calculations out of gear.
"It was taken here some time about February or March in 1908. This is quite clear, for the photograph bears our name and address on the back in addition to the order receipt number.
"This number, so far as we could make it out when the Belgian detectives brought it here today, is 49,998.
"In the ordinary way we should be able to trace the negative and the name and address of the person who was photographed for this order number.
"But the figure "8" is not at all distinct, and the negative of the order bearing that number is of an elderly couple living at Hounslow.
"I have tried the originals of all numbers which start with "4,999," and have an additional figure, which might stand for any other than the indistinct "8," but have not succeeded in finding the negative we want.
"It is very mysterious, and I can only put it down to an error in booking the order number.
"The order was booked by a young woman assistant not now in our employ, and of whom we have lost trace."

Source: The Daily Mirror, January 9, 1914, Page 4

Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"

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