Anniversary appeal for information on Wheathampstead teenager murdered 60 years ago

PUBLISHED: 12:26 21 December 2017 | UPDATED: 12:26 21 December 2017

Anne Noblett's body was found in woodland near Whitwell. Picture: Herts Police

Anne Noblett's body was found in woodland near Whitwell. Picture: Herts Police


Police detectives are making an anniversary appeal for information on a 17-year-old girl from Wheathampstead who was found dead in the 1950s.

Anne Noblett, who was 17 when she was murdered. Picture: Herts PoliceAnne Noblett, who was 17 when she was murdered. Picture: Herts Police

The body of 17-year-old Anne Noblett was discovered in woodland near Whitwell on January 31, 1958, by dog walkers, 32 days after she went missing on December 30, 1957.

She disappeared while returning home to Marshalls Heath Lane in Wheathampstead after attending a dance class with friends in Harpenden. She had taken a bus home and got off at Cherry Tree Corner, which is the last time she was seen alive.

Mick Flavin from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Investigation Review Team said: “Today, six decades later, we are appealing for anyone who may have information but may not have felt that they could come to police earlier to please get in touch.

“You may be able to give Anne’s family some answers about her untimely death. It’s still not too late to contact us and share what you know no matter how irrelevant it may seem.

The Whitwell woodland where Anne Noblett's body was found. Picture: Herts PoliceThe Whitwell woodland where Anne Noblett's body was found. Picture: Herts Police

“If you have any concerns in relation to coming forward then please be reassured that our specialist officers will provide you with support.”

It is believed that Anne was murdered within hours of her disappearance. The cause of her death was determined as strangulation and it is thought that after her death her body was stored before being moved to dense woodland in Rose Grove Woods, known locally as ‘Young’s Wood’ in Horn Hill, Whitwell.

Due to the condition of Anne’s body when it was found it was considered that she may have been held in cold storage for some time before being abandoned in the woods.

The initial investigation was carried out by Herts police officers with support from senior detectives from Scotland Yard, which was normal practice at the time.

There were extensive searches involving hundreds of police officers, police dogs, the military and members of the public, who volunteered to help.

At the time, the investigation was widely covered by the national and local press. A number of people were questioned by officers but no one was ever charged.

Mr Flavin added: “An unsolved murder is never closed and these cases are regularly reviewed to identify any new lines of enquiry that could be explored.

“Over the years we have kept in touch with Anne’s younger brother Hugh, who is understandably still deeply affected by her death.

“While we have considered the possibility that Anne’s killer may have since died, we are committed to answering the family’s questions about her death.”

Hugh said: “Anne was a much loved, gentle and caring sister and no day passes without me thinking of her and the tragic circumstances and mystery surrounding her death.”

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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