Home > All > ‘Barnes Mystery’ solved after 132 years

‘Barnes Mystery’ solved after 132 years

The skull of a woman was found beneath the foundations on a building site in October 2010. It appears that most people suspected that it belonged to Martha Barnes, known to have been murdered in 1879 by her maid Kate Webster. But her head was never found. Until now.

The coroner asked the police to conduct enquiries into identifying the original owner of the skull – which they did. The appointed investigating office was able to present the coroner with enough evidence to demonstrate that the skull did indeed belong to Martha Barnes.

 This is a fascinating case and a good example of how good old-fashioned detective work, historical records and technological advances came together to solve the ‘Barnes mystery’.
Chief Superintendent Clive Chalk, Borough Commander of Richmond

Good old-fashioned detective work. Mystery solved. And not a DNA smear in sight.

Metropolitan Police

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