Murder of Amy Reeves

1911, 18th July: Murder of a 10 year old Amy Reeves and placed in a dip hole on Chertsey Common. The initial impressions were that she took off her boots and stockings and left them on the grass beside a shallow pond at Longcross. She was discovered drowned later that afternoon, her head caught in the weeds beneath the water. Superintendent Mears, Inspector Pike and Sergeant Bettison examined the scene. A birch sapling had been chopped down from a bank consisting of very wet fibre and sand of which the inspector took a sample and later visited the shed of an uncle of a suspect and seized a chopper. The blade of the chopper had some pieces of fibre similar to that on the bank. Albert Hampton of Chobham was arrested.16

The following come from papers in the county record office:

Sergeant 29 Alfred Bettison, Chertsey: Was informed of a body of a girl at Long Cross and immediately told Inspector Pike and they went to the scene where he saw Arthur Reeves the father of the dead child. He had found his daughter dead, lying in the pond on her back. Bettison examined the body and saw a large wound over the right eye. He then left to inform Superintendent Mears and Dr. Graham Hodgson and accompanied them to the pond.

Bettison saw the girl's boots and stockings on the bank and further discovered four large wounds on her head. Superintendent Mears removed a large stick from the pond and then the body was removed to Chertsey Mortuary where in the presence of Dr. Hodgson he removed the clothes which "I now have"; he did not see blood on any of the clothing and was present whilst Dr Hodgson and Dr. Viney carried out the post-mortem. On the 20th the sergeant took measurements from the girl's cottage to the pond and he had since accompanied a photographer to take photographs of the dead body, the pond and other parts of the common leading to the cottage and the road.

Inspector Charles Pike précis of a report dated 22 July 1911: At 11 pm on the 18th following information from Sergeant Bettison he went to the pond at Long Cross and met the father Arthur Reeves who was there with a lantern and showed me the dip hole and the body of a female child Amy aged ten years. With Superintendent Mears the inspector searched the area but failed to find any signs of a struggle, of blood or of a body being dragged.

He returned the following day and found a birch sapling had been chopped down. The bark consisted of a very wet fibre and sand of which he took a sample also he recovered a few of the birch chips lying on the ground near by. A little later the same day Pike visited the shed at the rear of Mr Steven’s residence and just inside the shed door saw a chopper which he took possession of. On examining it Inspector Pike found adhering to one side of the blade some pieces of fibre similar to that which the bark consisted of where the birch sapling had been chopped down.

At 6.45 pm the same day the inspector was in Chobham Street, Chobham when he saw Albert Hampton of Chobham. He was stopped and the inspector said "I am a police inspector and I am going to take you to Chertsey where you will be charged with causing the death of a little girl named Amy Reeves and cautioned him, and he replied "I am sure it was not me Sir."

Searching for evidence of the murder of Amy Reeves, 1911.

Searching for evidence of the murder of Amy Reeves, 1911.

Superintendent Mears reported: The pond was nearly round measuring eleven by ten feet with an average depth of nine inches of water and nine inches of mud and weeds. On examining the pond he found a stick about two inches above the water. It was green birch about two feet long and about six inches in circumference at the widest point. "I have since examined the stick carefully and found there is a quantity of what appears to be human hairs which are fairly long, and the colour appears to be light brown or fair. I assisted in emptying the pond of water, the mud and weeds from the bottom of the pond which I have since carefully examined."

Later at the police station the superintendent handed the prisoner fresh clothing and took possession of what he was wearing including boots and examined it carefully. There were no blood marks on any of the prisoner's clothing. There were no marks of a struggle near the pond (or on the common) no blood marks or any appearance of the body having been dragged. Hampton was charged with murder.

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16 Surrey History Centre, Woking, item ref CC98/11/1, Murder of Amy Reeves.

 

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