AS part of our weekly Crime Files series, we are taking a look back at the archives to bring you stories from Herefordshire's history.

The following story dates from 1932.

A HEREFORDSHIRE kennel-maid was strangled to death by a teenager at their employer's house in 1932.

Ethel Corey, of Hereford, was found strangled in a bathroom at the house where she was employed in July 1932.

A court heard Miss Corey and the accused, 16-year-old Harold Hayward Wilkins, had both worked for the same employer at Brinton Kennels, near Walsall, at the time of the 31-year-old's death.

Wilkins and Miss Corey had been left alone at the house on July 9, with the kennel-maid's corpse found after Wilkins called the police to report a burglary.

But, the prosecution said, the burglary claim had been a ruse made up by Wilkins, alleging that in a later statement he had told police he had followed Miss Corey upstairs, ripping her frock off and tying it on her head.

"I fetched a lead out of her room and tied her arms behind her," Wilkins was reported to have said.

"She squealed slightly. I just caught hold of her with my hands around her neck."

When charged, Wilkins was alleged to have said he did not mean to do it.


The pair's employer, Mr C L Hodgkinson told the court that he had returned to the house that day to find Wilkins sobbing in a broken way.

The young Wilkins, of Mellish Road, Walsall, was found guilty and sentenced to death, with the jury making a strong recommendation for mercy due to his age on November 16.

He was later reprieved in November 1932. It was announced later that month by his solicitor, Mr A V Haden, that he would not be appealing his conviction.