The Babes murder case

Murdered children

The murdered children

1947, 26 July: Tom Roberts on a conference in Manchester was called back to Guildford to deal with the murder of a child and another seriously injured. Leslie John Goff aged nine and his younger sister Eileen aged seven. The boy was dead when he was discovered with a bullet wound through his body which appeared to have been caused by a rifle fired at close range. His sister had received a severe battering to the head.

The first call had come from an elder sister reporting the children missing from 196, Southway Avenue, Westborough in Guildford. They had gone out at 1pm with their father's whippet dog. A massive search was undertaken co-ordinated by Inspectors Ferguson and Lock and the children were found. On the 27 July the little girl died.

Searching for clues

Searching for clues

Enquiries revealed that the children had been seen with a local man known as Tom or even Uncle Tom. A call came in from a member of the public with information as to who was responsible and Sergeant Melton and PC Berry went to where the suspect was at 3 Bushnell Cottages, Pitch Place at Worplesdon.

Arrested for the murder of the two children

Arrested for murder

On into the night the officers waited for the suspect to return home at 2.40am. They searched his bedroom and found an army bayonet, .303 ammunition and clothing fitting description given by witnesses. He was arrested and interviewed by Roberts and DI Stone. The rifle was recovered from bushes in Manor Copse, and was identical to one stolen from the Home Guard in 1944 and said to have been given to the suspect by a man called Cole.

At Surrey Assizes on 2 December 1947 Smith was sentenced to death but this was later commuted to life imprisonment he being released in 1971. He appeared before the court in 1974 on a charge of theft and later that day, was killed in a motorcycle accident at East Horsley.

Photos from the News Chronicle.

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