A WRAC mudered by a guardsman

1968, 24 June: Lionel Covey: About 1.40 pm the naked body of a woman was found on apiece of waste ground near the WRAC Depot at Guildford. The woman believed to have been a private in the WRAC had been murdered by strangulation, partly disembowelled and her face disfigured.

Lance Corporal Henry John Sloan found guilty of murdering WRAC McClung

The suspect circulated was Lance Corporal Henry John Sloan born in 1941 in Belfast and was AWOL from the Guard's Depot, Pirbright. The victim was Mrs Kathleen Valerie McClung of the WRAC and Sloan was found guilty at Kent Assizes and sentenced to life in prison.

John Bartlett: I had to go to the mortuary at Guildford, I do not remember why, when an examination was in progress on a young woman's body. I can remember that there were three maybe four CID officers present. The pathologist was explaining that someone had repeatedly jumped on the woman's stomach causing here womb to detach.

Jeff Bloomfield: Bert Futter was the officer in charge and I was his side-kick. Kathleen McClun, a member of the WRAC was the victim. The attack was ferocious considering no weapon was used. John Henry Sloan, a guardsman stationed at Pirbright was convicted of her murder. He was identified by other military personnel, as the couple had been seen out together in Guildford. He went AWOL and was detained in London where I arrested him for murder.

Peter May: At this time I was living at Fairland's Estate, Guildford, next door to PC Sam MacDonald, a Guildford beat officer. (He later transferred to the Metropolitan Police.) One time he was working nights and I was on the early shift in HQ Control Room. I happened to have a cup of coffee with him on an afternoon after my early turn when he was awake after his night duty.

In conversation I said we had received a call during the morning which resulted in the discovery of a murder at Stoughton near the WRAC Barracks during the night. His face went ashen and he said something like 'Oh my God!' Sam then related that he had been on patrol the night before in the Stoughton area and had actually walked along what was known as Pig Alley – a local footpath which ran from the WRAC end of Grange Road to the Worplesdon Road area near the Yellow Bus Service garage.

Sam said that whilst walking along Pig Alley in the night, he heard a kafuffle in the undergrowth and put it down to hedgehogs rutting or some other animal doing what they do! Now, in conversation about the murder report, he realised he might have actually been walking past the murder as it was taking place!

I quite believe his reaction when I described the reports of the body received in the Control Room the next morning. A macabre aspect was when the report of the body was received in the Control Room in the morning, the 999 caller asked if tailor's dummies had pubic hair. When asked why he was asking he said that there was what looked like a dummy or body in the waste ground off Pig Alley but that it had pubic hair. Then of course the whole thing leapt into action and the murder investigation began.

Robin Maddison: When Sloan was brought to the old court in Guildford I was called across to sit with the prisoner in his cell, down below the court, I was a bit nervous about this. He was lying in the small dark cell reading a comic type war book. He smiled slightly and started to talk to me. He had a very thick Irish accent and was hard to understand.

"It's right that I am going away; when get angry I don't stop, I nearly killed a guy by banging his head on the ground one time!"

I was glad when I was relieved! The other thing about Sloan was his voice was so quiet when relating this tale as to be barely audible, this seemed to be his normal way of speaking!

Dave O'Connell: A WRAC girl was returning to the WRAC depot in Guildford after a night out. She was taking a cut through to the camp's main gate. She was attacked by a serving soldier called Sloan. It was a very vicious nasty attack. Sloane stamped repeatedly on the girl's stomach with such force that her bowel and bladder were forced out through her vagina. Sloan continued his attack until the poor girl was dead.

He was quickly identified as a suspect and arrested. He was tried for murder, found guilty and given a life sentence. If I recall correctly he narrowly escaped the gallows, the death penalty having recently been abolished.

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