How Carol was identified.

The lead on who Carol was, and where her home was, seems to have come from her place of work.

Jean Broadbent, Carolís friend at the bakery, was the first to realise that Carol was missing. However, she attributed her non-appearance to the pub-crawl the girls had been on the previous Saturday night. At about 9:30 Herbert Stowell sent Jean Broadbent to the office where Carol should have been. Jean returned at 9:45 saying Carol was not there and mentioning the pub-crawl.

Jean Broadbent then suggested that Kevin might ring in with news. She then went for her break which ended at 10 30. She spoke again with Herbert Stowell about Carol.

Shortly after 10:30 the telephonist Doreen Killerby, told Jean Broadbent and Herbert Stowell that a girl had been attacked at the side of the hospital. Stowell made arrangements for Broadbent to be driven to Carolís home. When she arrived there at about 11:30, there was no reply to her knocking, so she went to the butcherís shop to see Kevin. Kevin did not know that Carol had been attacked. Together, Kevin and Jean went to the scene of crime in the bakery van where Kevin spoke to a policeman.

This is the first recorded occasion when someone who knew Carol was at the scene of the crime. However, her body was by then in the hospital, having left the scene in the ambulance at 10:05 .

But this is also the first recorded occasion when Carolís identity might have been deduced from the articles which remained at the scene of crime after Carol had been taken to the hospital. According to Broadbent, this is clearly after 11:30 am, though according to Stowell, the van driver returned at "about 11:15"

What occurred after Kevin visited the scene of crime is not clear. Kevin Best wrote in this statement:

" I wasnít allowed to see her until Wednesday 12th October 1977, when I spent most of the day with her. It was then that I saw she had severe head injuries. She was unconscious throughout the time I was with her. Later that same day I was informed of Carolís death, and at 6:30 pm I identified her to Sergeant Anelay."

Jean Broadbent, according to Herbert Stowellís driver, was in a car that he presumed was a police car. This unmarked car was, presumably, that of a detective. The first detective to arrive at the scene appears to be D.C. Brown who arrived at 9:55.

The police certainly knew Carolís identity by 1:50 - for officers visited Carolís step-father, George Wilkinson at his work . He went with his wife and Carol's sister, Wendy Worsley, to the infirmary.

However, the evidence of Mrs. Best - Kevinís mother - shows that the news had reached the Ravenscliffe estate earlier.

She made two trips around the estate that morning. She first visited Kevin the butcherís shop at around 9:15 and agreed to hang some washing out for him at his home address.

Then she said :

" At 1 pm I left the house with some finished washing and walked down Delius Avenue, along Roundwood Avenue, through the old peopleís flats along Norbury Road to 131 Ranelagh Avenue. When I got to the house I was surprised to find that Kevin wasnít in. A neighbour at 129 Ranelagh Avenue then told that the police were looking for me. I followed the same route back to my home address, carrying the washing. I left it at the house and walked round to the butcherís shop on Ravenscliffe Avenue and spoke to Kevinís boss Arthur Jones. Mr Jones informed me that Kevin had gone to the hospital and told me that Carol had been seriously assaulted. This was the first indication I had had of the assault on Carol Anne Wilkinson. I was extremely upset and ran home crying."

She then added, with significance to the present matter:

" I omitted to say that just prior to taking the washing round to Kevinís house, the two corporation gardeners had come into the garden and begun to tidy it up."

It would appear from all this that something occurred at around 11:30 which led to an identification good enough for the police to act upon. Kevin Best may have identified her clothing. Her handbag, coat and shoe were still present. He then went to the hospital, and in spite of what he said about not being able to see Carol, may have identified her formally. He may also have rung the butcherís shop and told Mr. Arthur Jones, who had not been there when Kevin left, that Carol had been attacked.

Why, however, would the police cars go to Kevinís home - 131 Ranelagh Avenue, as reported to Mrs Best? Mrs Best was told that it was because the police were looking for her - and this may be so, for someone in the shop may have remembered that she picked up some washing earlier and was going to Kevinís house. However, it seems more likely that the police had been there to check if Carol was actually at home. If this latter explanation is correct, it shows that the police were still checking the identification at sometime after 11:30 am.

There seems to be good confirmation of an even later timing if one works back from the time when Mr. Wilkinson was informed of the attack. The police went to 131 Ranelagh Avenue, where there was no reply. It seems likely that they soon found their way to the family home in Thackeray Road. Mrs Wilkinsonís statement is not available, but Wendy Farr/Worsley was also picked up, for the police took the two to Mr. Wilkinsonís place of work at Greengates - a short drive away. He was reached at 1:50 after what is about a five minute drive.

As we have noted, Wendy Worsley lived opposite the Best family home - so when the police car came to pick her up, Hannon may have seen it, indeed it may be the "cop cars" he refers to. However, the proof for this would be Wendy Worsley/Farrís first statement which has never been disclosed. If Wendyís first statement mentioned the time when she was picked up to go with her mother, this might be the reason why the statement was not disclosed. Since the cars arrived at the workplace of Mr. Wilkinson at 1:50, back-timing places the car in Delius at a time around 1:30 or later.

It seems from the above that the police cannot have even suspected the identity of the girl who had been attacked until at least after 11:15 . It would be mere speculation to consider that someone from the bakery had, by chance, gone down to the field and identified the girl earlier - certainly there is nothing in the evidence to suggest any such scenario.


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