28 February 2018

Media Review - Birmingham Live article on Bella in the Wych Elm (2018)

It would appear that Alex Merrill's new book and the facial reconstruction he has commissioned has sparked some interest in the case. I was reading a Birmingham Live article (author Mike Lockley) that came out today. It is so full of errors, I can't even begin to touch on all of them. They do, however, use the facial reconstruction image which is interesting given it is copyrighted by Alex Merrill.

I am presenting the text of the Birmingham Live article here with red highlighted comments to indicate the most glaring inaccuracies and wild suppositions...

In a nutshell, this article is simply one more piece that presents suppositions, theories, rumours and inaccuracies without any substantiating evidence.
Revealed after 75 years: The face of Bella in the Wych Elm
Face of a woman whose ritualistic killing sparked one of Britain’s greatest murder mysteries

[ritualistic killing?]

This is the face of Bella in the Wych Elm, a woman whose ritualistic killing sparked one of Britain’s greatest murder mysteries. [ritualistic killing? Proof please.]

She was victim of a tangled wartime web of espionage and black magic some 75 years ago. [these are just theories - there is nothing concrete]

Bella, whose skull was found wedged in a tree’s hollow near Hagley, in Worcestershire, has never been identified. [not just her skull, also her skeleton - not wedged]

The killer who ritualistically maimed the body – a piece of taffeta cloth was forced in Bella’s mouth, one hand was severed – has never been brought to justice. [ritualistically maimed? no evidence for this]

That may change after Caroline Wilkinson, the expert tasked with rebuilding Richard III’s face after the royal’s remains were found under a Leicester car park, recreated Bella’s features. [at the request of Alex Merrill who published the copyrighted image in his book]

The professor of craniofacial identification at Dundee University used photographs taken at the time to put a face to the name.

She could not use the actual skull, discovered by four young schoolboys collecting birds eggs in thick woodland – and there’s a reason.

That crucial piece of evidence has been lost by police, Birmingham councillor Peter Douglas Osborn, an expert on the Bella case, says.

That has been confirmed by West Midlands Police, where a spokesperson said: “Searches have been conducted by the Police Museum volunteers and they have confirmed that we hold no exhibits, and can find no documentation, that may relate to this case at either of the West Midlands Police Museums

“Additionally, searches were carried out by our Force Records team, who have confirmed that there is no relevant documentation held with the major investigation team or in external storage.”

The skull dates back to a time when Hagley fell within the West Midlands police boundary, she explained.

That has not been the case for many years.

It had been housed at a Birmingham forensics lab, then moved to the police city base, Tally Ho, on the Pershore Road. [Other sources say it was transferred to the Birmingham University medical department]

The skull’s whereabouts are not now known, a spokesperson admitted.

The striking image of Bella, suspected of being a Nazi spy, will feature in a new book, Who Put Bella In The Wych Elm?, written by Peter Simmell. [No... the author is Alex Merrill, with his father Peter Merrill]

Birmingham councillor Osborn, who has a keen interest in this country’s most baffling crime, hopes it will at last provide answers.

His late father, Squadron Leader William Douglas Osborn, was tasked with guarding the murder scene on the southern edge of the Black Country when the remains were found on April 18, 1943. [news to me]

“I believe she was killed before 1941,” says Peter. “The reconstruction is impressive. Now it’s a question of asking members of the public to thumb through family albums.

“Anyone who had direct contact with her is probably dead.”

The strange case is the stuff of popular rural sleuth TV series, Midsomer Murders.

And the mystery has endured because of sporadic outbreaks of graffiti in the area, the first appearing six months after the body was found.

Each scrawled message asks the same question: “Who put Bella in the Wych Elm?” The tags still occasionally appear today. [No, the early messages were different]

But the more pertinent question is, who was Bella?

Painstaking detective and forensic work revealed the victim was aged around 35 to 40 and had given birth to a child. [Likely aged 30-40 although Alex Merrill, in his book, calls this into question.]

The body had rotted in the woodland for at least 18 months.

The murder was ritualistic and had all the hallmarks of a Satanic ceremony. [Some have linked it to witchcraft, but I'm not sure that is syonymous with Satanism.]

The crime scene mirrored an ancient ceremony known as “Hand of Glory” where bones are scattered to the wind. [This is inaccurate.]

A hand had been severed, a wad of taffeta wedged in the victim’s mouth. [Alex's book debunks the taffeta theory. There was also no forensic evidence of a hand having been severed. Most of the bones from both hands were simply not recovered at the scene.]

One of her arms had been left 13 paces from the skeletal remains – an ancient custom used when a witch was executed. [Source for this? There is nothing in the police files that supports this.]

The choice of tree was also significant. Wych elm plays an important part in the black arts. [Source please?]

Add to the mix the fact that belladonna is the ancient name for deadly nightshade, a plant closely associated with witchcraft. So, too, was the murder scene, Hagley Wood. [Source please?]

The occult theory was cranked up following the murder of Charles Walton in February 1945, on nearby Meon Hill.

He was found skewered to the ground by a pitchfork, and Satanism was suspected by some. Locals remained tight-lipped when approached by the police. [The landowner was the prime suspect.]

Peter believes the Devil worship theories are a smokescreen spawned by MI5, and describes those 13 paces as “convenient”. [Speechless. Absolutely speechless.]

Bella was a Nazi spy, he believes. She was based in the Clent Hills area, an ideal place to monitor the munitions factories studded around the Black Country and Birmingham. [Belief is one thing. Proof is an entirely different thing.]

Others believe she was slain after tripping upon a Third Reich “cell”. [Given that all Nazi and fascist sympathizers were rounded up in 1939/1940... one would wonder who would have populated such a "cell"?]

“I believe the spy story,” Peter says, “but it is circumstantial evidence, there is no proof as such.” [Ah well, that's good then... besides, who needs proof.]

The graffiti is another red herring. “The initial ones may have been done by an ex-lover, attempting to get the case reopened,” he says. “The rest have been copy-cats.” [??? Proof???]

Was body in the tree missing German actress and spy lover?
One name for the victim – dubbed Bella because of the graffiti – has been put forward.

It has been claimed that Czech-born Gestapo agent Josef Jakobs, captured by the Home Guard in 1941 after parachuting into Cambridgeshire, gave interrogators her name and picture. [NOT Czech born!]

She was the spy’s lover, Clara Bauerle, a German actress and cabaret singer.

Before the war, she spent two years working West Midlands music halls, and had mastered a Brummie accent. [This is a far-fetched Donald McCormick rumour being mixed with Clara Bauerle. There is absolutely NO evidence for this.]

Clara had been recruited by the Gestapo and, with Jakobs, was given the job of creating a spy cell over here. [No... the Gestapo were not involved in espionage. The German Abwehr (German Intelligence Service or Secret Service) was responsible for sending spies to England. No evidence that they were tasked with creating a spy cell.]

The pair never made contact.

Intriguingly, no showbiz record of Clara – no films, billboards or record of engagements – exists after spring 1941. [I would actually like to see the billboards and record of engagements prior to the spring of 1941... I'm not aware of any, so this would help my research. As for post-1941... she died December 16, 1942 in Berlin.]

She simply disappeared off the face of the earth. [Well yes... because she was buried in the earth.]

Jakobs was in no position to add to his claims. He was executed by firing squad on August 15, 1941 – the last man to be put to death at the Tower of London. The sentence was preceded by an MI5 tongue-lashing for the Dad’s Army members who captured Jakobs.

The world and his wife knew of his arrest “on account of the inability of the Home Guard to keep their mouths shut”, the spooks said.

At present, Jakobs “confession” is simply one of a string of theories, some credible, some simply incredible. [Very true... read the preceding bits of this newspaper article for some of these incredible theories.]

School lads who found body... and left cops stumped
Police have in the past dismissed any talk of Satanism, and publicly stated the position of scattered bones suggested they had been displaced by wild animals. [And some of the bones were gnawed on... presumably by animals but... wait... maybe some will claim that it was cannibals at the Satanic ritual chewing on Bella's bones?]

They concentrated on claims that Bella was a prostitute, slaughtered by a twisted punter. [They also looked at the idea that she was a gypsy or a missing woman. The prostitute angle was pretty minor.]

There is one thing beyond argument. Detectives attempting to solve the crime hit a wall of silence. [Really? Define "wall of silence".]

The murder was uncovered by Fred Payne, Tommy Willetts, Robert Hart and Bob Farmer, young boys who ventured into the coppice in search of bird eggs.

The vision of what they found would stay with them for a lifetime.

Bob scrambled up an old wych elm tree and let out a piercing scream. There, wedged in a hollow, was a skull. [First I've heard of a piercing scream.]

He would later recall: “There was a small patch of rotting flesh on the forehead, with lank hair attached to it. The two front teeth were crooked.”

It would be some time before the boys, fearing they would land in hot water for trespassing, raised the alarm. [Within 24 hours...]

After all, they were unsure the remains were even human. [I believe they knew that when they left the tree.]

In the end, it was the youngest of the egg collectors, Tommy Willetts, who informed his father about what lurked in the woods.

Police immediately swooped on the dark, eerie parcel of land. What they discovered sent a chill down the spine of hardened detectives.

Pathologist Professor James Webster left no stone unturned in his bid to identify the body.

He found out the corpse was still warm when placed in the tree. Bella had died from asphyxiation, caused by the plug of taffeta. [He only said that rigor mortis had either not set in yet, or that she had been placed in the tree after rigor mortis had dissipated. See note above regarding the taffeta theory.]

Detectives scoured national dental records and every missing person file, but drew a blank.

Now, at last, they have something to work on.

Peter Douglas Osborn believes the image on this page will finally provide the answers that have eluded police for decades. [Maybe... but even Alex Merrill has admitted that a reconstruction is not 100% accurate. Perhaps one of the reasons why the police hadn't commissioned one. Even Webster had considered one back in the 1940s but felt it would narrow the scope of the investigation too much.]

26 February 2018

Book Review - Who Put Bella in the Wych Elm Vol 1 The Crime Scene Revisited - Alex Merrill (2018)


Cover of Who put Bella in the Wych Elm -
Volume 1 - The Crime Scene Revisited
(from Amazon.ca)
The Book
Who Put Bella in the Wych Elm - Volume 1 - The Crime Scene Revisited. Alex Merrill. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2018.

Summary
Well, this was a surprise! A 16 year old from Halesown, Alex Merrill, has written a book on Bella in the Wych Elm. It came out on Friday, February 23, 2018 and I snapped up an ebook off of Amazon.

You might wonder what a teenager could possibly contribute to the Bella investigation but... he actually does a pretty good job. Alex starts with a preparatory chapter in which he proposes to "shake the kaleidoscope", a rather intriguing visual image. In researching the case, Alex began to question the direction of the original police investigation. Perhaps there was another version to the crime scene story? Alex admits that "offering a different version of events will be challenging, controversial and will leave me open to the possibility of ridicule". But sometimes, a fresh, questioning mind is exactly what is required.


My understanding is that Alex is publishing two volumes on the Bella case. In this first volume, he examines the early stages of the investigation: the discovery of the body, the location of the tree, the forensic scientists and the actual skeleton and clothing/shoes found in and near the tree. Finally, Alex presents a facial reconstruction of the skull, provided by Professor Caroline Wilkinson (from Face Lab at Liverpool John Moores University).

Alex Merrill and the Wychbury Obelisk
(from Andrew Spark website)
There are many news and blog articles being published on the internet about Bella but most of them just recycle the same old stories, often replete with the same old inaccuracies. They move nothing forward, and actually muddy the waters even further. Alex, on the other hand, has actually tried to move the investigation forward. He is one of the few who has noticed that the widely distributed photograph of the wych elm may not be the actual tree in which the skeleton was found. That photograph was published in the Express and Star newspaper on Friday 20 November, 1953, as part of an article by "Quaestor" (Lt. Col. Wilfred Byford-Jones). The actual crime scene photographs feature a different tree, and Alex is quick to point this out.

Alex also provides several maps (Ordnance Survey) upon which he tries to identify the various possible locations of the tree, based on witness and police statements. These statements include distances in paces, yards, feet, etc. which makes the exact location of the tree a bit of a mystery. There does, however, appear to be a convergence of data that points to the southeastern corner of Hagley Wood as being the most likely location. The maps, in and of themselves, are a great step forward.

He also goes to some lengths to document the actual opening in the wych elm, even going so far as to provide a drawing of the opening and how a woman sitting in the hollow would have appeared. It would definitely have been a tight squeeze.

While the forensic report concluded that "Bella" was placed in the hollow tree prior to rigor mortis setting in, Alex is taking a different tack. Given the narrow opening in the tree, Alex wonders if perhaps the body could have been introduced post rigour mortis. He also questions whether the shoes found near the scene actually belonged to the skeleton.

The very fact that Alex has pored over the police documents and shared some of the details of the case also moves the whole investigation forward.


Review
I found the book to be quite intriguing. Alex has done some great background research and his initiative in getting a facial reconstruction from the skull photographs is admirable.

The one thing that stands out as being up for discussion is his assumption that the placement of the upper central incisors is accurate. Dr. Webster, in his forensic report, made no mention of crooked central incisors in the upper jaw, only saying that they protruded a bit more than normal. My own sense would be that the crooked left central incisor was loose and unfortunately photographed for posterity in that position. Another photograph of the skull has the upper right central incisor missing. The reconstructed skeleton photograph actually shows both central incisors missing, so it would seem that a poor reinsertion of those two teeth into the upper jaw is likely. Unless, of course, we conclude that Dr Webster neglected to mention such a gross irregularity in the upper jaw, whilst focusing on a minor irregularity in the lower jaw.

Alex stated that he wanted to " 'shake the kaleidoscope', to add a new perspective and to shed light on other possibilities". I think he has definitely achieved that.

Review Score
4.5 out of 5 - a well-researched and helpful contribution to the Bella investigation.

23 February 2018

Debunked: Bella in the Wych Elm was the wife of spy Johannes Marinus Dronkers

 It's fair to say, I think, that Bella in the Wych Elm was definitely not the German cabaret singer Clara Bauerle. I've laid out the facts in other blogs and the evidence seems pretty overwhelming. But even though we can lay Clara Bauerle to rest, there is another Clara whose name has been circulated as a candidate for Bella in the Wych Elm - a woman named Clarabella Dronkers.

Murder by Witchcraft - Donald McCormick (cover photo)
Murder by Witchcraft -
Donald McCormick (cover photo)
This particular theory is awash with far-fetched rumours and very few facts, but let's take a look at the general gist of it. Back in 1968, Donald McCormick published his book, Murder by Witchcraft. The book is based on rather sketchy "research" and some modern scholars have suggested that he played fast and loose with the facts. Some have gone so far as to refer to his books as fictionalized history... or historical fiction. In his book, McCormick refers to one Clarabella Dronkers and makes the connection with a spy of the same name. Could it be? Was Bella in the Wych Elm the hapless wife of another spy?

Let's start with some concrete facts. Johannes Marinus Dronkers was a hapless Dutch man, a former postal clerk, who ran into financial trouble once the Germans invaded Holland. He was recruited by the German Abwehr and in May 1942, along with a couple of unsuspecting legitimate Dutch refugees, sailed for the shores of England in a yacht named Joppe. They ran into engine trouble along the way but were rescued by a British ship and taken in tow.

Once they landed, as was normal procedure for Continental refugees, the three men were interrogated numerous times at the Royal Victoria Patriotic Schools.

Dronkers cut a rather poor figure. One interrogator went so far as to say that this about the hapless Dutchman:
The man is a dithering fool, old before his time, a bundle of shaking nerves, maudlin and sentimental, who nearly weeps when the talk comes to Holland or the House of Orange, unintelligent, a typical piece of flotsam, with no special qualifications whatsoever, utterly useless and worthless as an Agent. His two companions are, in my opinion, genuine escapees, in good faith. (KV 2/43 - interrogation report dated May 22, 1942 from Royal Victoria Patriotic Schools)
The British suspected that Dronkers was a German agent but also felt that he was such a poor specimen of a man that the Germans would never have used him as a spy! Alas... he was a German agent... and he eventually collapsed under questioning.

Johannes Marinus Dronkers (National Archives - KV 2/45 file on Dronkers)
Johannes Marinus Dronkers
(National Archives - KV 2/45
file on Dronkers)
After collapsing under questioning, Dronkers was sent to the tender mercies of Lt. Col. R.W.G. Stephens at Camp 020 where he promptly spilled out his sad story. He had gotten into financial difficulties and his brother-in-law (husband of his wife's sister) had suggested an espionage career with the German Abwehr.
I declare that I had no intention of doing anything for the Germans, or carrying out any of my instructions once I had arrived in England.

I accepted the proposition which was made to me because I did not earn enough money to keep myself and my wife decently in Holland and I could not bear to see my wife suffer.

I thought that by accepting to come over here, she would at least for a few months have no further financial worries. (National Archives - KV 2/43 - statement by Dronkers)
Stephens and his fellow interrogators took a rather dim view of Dronkers' wife who, it would appear, was so hungry for finances that she would send her husband on a dangerous espionage mission.
Major Sampson and I are both of opinion that his sole desire was to obtain money by hook or by crook for a woman, as rapacious as she is evil, his wife. (National Archives - KV 2/43 - report by Stephens)
Dronkers was paid 600 Guilders by the German Abwehr prior to going on his mission, with the promise of a subsequent monthly allowance of 150 Guilders for his wife. Before departing on his mission, Dronkers gave his wife 525 Guilders from the 600. Stephens took a rather dim view of Dronkers wife...
A redeeming feature, if such a term can be used in this case; is that he gave five-sixths of his filthy lucre to his wife, which she greedily accepted notwithstanding the danger to the life of her husband... My only regret in this case, if DRONKERS must hang, is that his wife cannot hang too. (National Archives - KV 2/43 - report by Stephens)
One gets the impression that Dronkers was a rather hen-pecked husband who would do anything to keep his wife happy. His picture certainly gives the impression of a rather meek and mild-mannered gentleman. Dronkers was put on trial in late 1942, found guilty, and sentenced to death. He was hanged on 31 December 1942 at Wandsworth Prison.

Before he was executed, Dronkers wrote a farewell letter to his wife which was helpfully translated by MI5. It was to have been delivered to his wife at the end of the war, but it never was. It now sits in Dronkers' file at the National Archives.
My darling,
I don't know when you will receive this letter, neither do I know whether it will be before or after the end of this war, but in any case I shall not be alive when you do. It is, therefore, my last farewell in this life and it is very difficult for me to leave you behind alone.
I have been accused of having come here with the intention of committing espionage and for that I have been sentenced to death and tomorrow the sentence will be carried out exactly on the last day of the year.
I have constantly maintained by innocence but was not believed and therefore, I also will fall as a victim of this war.
I am, however, completely prepared to depart, because I know in "Whom" I have believed and God will accept me in his eternal paternal house where my father went before me.
You may be certain that God will also look after you whatever may happen, always ask him for help and guidance and you will go short of nothing.
All my property here will be sent to you and anything at home now belongs to you and you can do with it as you please.
My darling, I know that whatever I may have done against you has been forgiven by you, because I know that you have always loved me and I also know that my love for you is still complete and that I have always done my best to give you to the best of my ability. Whatever you may think; I wish I had never done or said this or that, you must realise that I am convinced that you have always tried to act in my best interests and that I have forgiven you all. Give  a hearty greeting from me to all and until we meet again up above, Mother, Annie and Henk, Harry and his little wife and the little one, they are all very dear to me, Bets and Piet and the boys, tell them also that I have forgiven them their silence.
And now my darling, a farewell to all friends, Marie a last greeting.
What more can I write, except that I have spent a time here which can be called good in all respects, sufficient food, my cigarettes at the right time and good treatment. I have made friends here especially with the clergyman of this Prison. He has been like a father unto me.
And now my dear wife, I take leave of you for ever. Do not weep for me because I shall be happy and your sadness would hamper my happiness.
God be with you and help you in your after life, have faith in him, he will provide for you. Be sensible and live humbly, that is the only advice I can give you. We shall see each other again, that is certain and I shall always be near you, though you cannot see me. Goodbye, my darling, your always deeply loving husband. (Johannes Dronkers) (National Archives - KV 2/46)
RVPS form for Johannes Marinus Dronkers - includes wife's name (National Archives - KV 2/43 file on Dronkers)
RVPS form for Johannes Marinus Dronkers - includes wife's name
(National Archives - KV 2/43 file on Dronkers)
So, we do know that Dronkers had a wife, but what was her name? Was it Clarabella? Was her hunger for money and fortune so great that she would have taken on a one-way trip to England via parachute? The short answer is no.

We have only to look at Dronkers MI5 files to quickly discover that his wife was not named Clarabella. His wife was Elise Antoinette Eleanora Seignette. Her name was not Marie, as has recently been claimed in the HD Paranormal film, Bella in the Wych Elm. That name was pulled out of Dronkers' last letter and is simply a woman that Dronkers wanted to send greetings to, along with other people.

Envelope containing Dronkers farewell letter to his wife (National Archives - KV 2/46 file on Dronkers)
Envelope containing Dronkers farewell letter to his wife
(National Archives - KV 2/46 file on Dronkers)
In 2017, Canadian author David Tremain wrote a comprehensive book on the Dronkers espionage case. Tremain helpfully traced the genealogies of Dronkers and his wife.

Elise was born in Den Helder, Netherlands on 15 January, 1893, the daughter of Benjamin Egbertus Cornelius Seignette and Elisabeth Koorn.

Her parents were apparently short on female names. They had had another daughter, born 1891, died 1892, also named Elisa Antoinette Eleanora. It was rather common back then, if a child died shortly after birth to name a subsequent child after the deceased one. However, in 1895, the couple had another daughter whom they named Eleanora Antoinette Elise. Confusing to say the least. Elise's sister Eleanora married a Gerard Jozeph Marie Moussault on 21 September 1920 (they had 2 children).

Elise Antoinette Eleanora Seignette Death notification (year of death is at top of page - not included here) (from WieWasWie site)
Elise Antoinette Eleanora Seignette Death notification
(year of death is at top of page - not included here)
(from WieWasWie site)
Our Elise married Johannes Marinus Dronkers on 10 June 1926 in Velsen, Netherlands. The couple apparently had no children.

In 1941, the projected year of Bella's death, Elise would have been 48 years old, rather outside the age range postulated by pathologist Dr. Webster (25-40 but more likely 35 +/- a few years). In addition, such a theory would necessitate sending Dronkers wife to England ahead of him. Rather unlikely. And, if we needed another nail in the coffin, Elise actually passed away on 18 December 1944 in Amsterdam.

So, to summarize, the wife of Johannes Marinus Dronkers, ill-fated spy:
  • was born in 1893 - aged 48 in 1941
  • was named Elise Antoinette Eleanora Seignette (not Clara or Bella or Clarabella)
  • was apparently alive and well in Holland when Dronkers left on his mission in May 1942
  • died in Amsterdam on 18 December 1944
Rough Justice - The True Story of Agent Dronkers, the Enemy Spy Captured by the British - 2017 - David Tremain (cover image)
Rough Justice - The True Story of
Agent Dronkers, the Enemy Spy
Captured by the British - 2017 -
David Tremain (cover image)
I think we can safely rule out this particular rumour and theory. Tremain, who has studied the Dronker case extensively had this to say about the rumour that Bella in the Wych Elm was linked to Dronkers:
It has been alleged that 'Bella' was a Dutch woman named Clarabella who was a Nazi spy, and may have been Dronkers' wife, who had been murdered in about 1941 and her body stuffed in a wych elm (really just an elm) in Hagley Wood, part of the Hagley Hall estate, near Kidderminster, in the West Midlands. The story, perpetrated by a number of websites, is so ridiculous that no further discussion is warranted. But whoever she was, she was not Dronker's wife.
I think we can safely state that Bella in the Wych Elm was NOT the wife of Dutchman Johannes Marinus Dronkers.

References
 National Archives - Johannes Marinus Dronkers files - KV 2/43, 2/44, 2/45 and 2/46.
Ancestry - birth, marriage and death registrations
WieWasWie - death notice for Elise Antoinette Eleanora Seignette

09 February 2018

Wikipedia Page - Bella in the Wych Elm

Wikipedia logo
Wikipedia logo
Goodness, Bella now has her very own Wikipedia page! It's actually been around for a couple of years but had a flurry of activity on it in the last few days. Given how popular the topic is... it remains to be seen how the page will maintain its accuracy. It quotes heavily from the Alison Vale article in The Independent which was rife with errors.

I had a quick glance and corrected a few of the most obvious ones. Jack Mossop was NOT Una's cousin. He was her ex-husband.

It is unfortunate that most of the articles used as references for the Wikipedia article on Bella simply rehash old rumours and other articles. All that does is compound the errors. I recently read a news article which suggested that Jack Mossop and the mysterious Van Raalte had been trying to prevent Bella from drink-driving. Original source material is where we might find some new answers... not creating fresh rumours.

On the other hand, the Wikipedia article quotes a book by Joyce M. Coley entitled Bella: An Unsolved Murder. It was published in 2007 and is 32 pages long. It seems to be out of print and... the price on amazon.com is a tad steep!


05 February 2018

BBC One Show - Last Execution at the Tower of London

In October 2016, the BBC filmed a short segment on Josef Jakobs at the Tower of London. It briefly tells the tale of Josef's execution at the Tower. It also shows the first meeting between Kate, the daughter of William Chidlow and myself, the granddaughter of Josef Jakobs. Chidlow was one of the Military Policemen who guarded Josef during his final weeks and escorted him to his execution at the Tower of London.

The segment aired on the OneShow in January 2017 but wasn't accessible to views outside the United Kingdom. A friend of mine found a clip pf the BBC segment on YouTube. I'm not sure if it will play in all geographic regions (copyright issues), but it does work in Canada! It's just under 5 minutes long.