The Western Daily Press & Bristol Mirror
Bristol, Wednesday, March 20th 1935
Canal Trunk Mystery – Minus Head, Legs and a Hand
The discovery last night of the trunk of a man minus the head and legs with one hand missing, in the Grand Union Canal, near the Great Western Dock, Brentford, has presented Scotland Yard with yet another baffling mystery.
The police are now endeavouring to ascertain if the latest grim find is associated in any way with the legs which were found in a Southern Railway carriage at Waterloo three weeks ago.
One point they are keeping in mind is that Brentford is on the railway line between Hounslow and Waterloo, and was one of the stations at which the train, in which the legs were found, stopped.
The trunk was in a sack tied loosely at the top, and had been in the water for some time. It was found by some boys. Chief Inspector Donaldson took over the investigations, and the trunk was removed to Brentford Mortuary, where Sir Bernard Spilsbury is expected to make an examination.
Inspector Donaldson was responsible for the ‘Yard’ inquiries into the Legs-in-the-train Mystery and the Brighton Trunk Mystery No.1
Boy’s Grim Story of Discovery
The trunk was discovered by boys who were walking along the towing path. They saw the sack a few feet from the edge of the bank, and dragged it in with a long stick. As the sack was lifted out of the water, part of the sacking broke way revealing the gruesome contents. The body was covered with a grey flannel shirt ad wrapped round with grey flannel trousers. The legs had been severed close to the trunk. On the left side of the chest there were some injuries. The body was still in the sacking on the towpath at 8.15, being guarded by police officers.
“Frightened – and Ran for the Police”
A dramatic story was told to a reporter last night by 12 years old, Peter Emptage, of Glenhurst Road, Brentford, Middlesex, who found the body when he was playing on the canal side with a friend Ronald Newman (14).
“We were going along to canal to the Green Pond to get some frog spawn,” the little boy said.
“When we had gone a little way we stopped to watch an animal, it was a rat or mole, which was swimming in the water. Just then a large barge passed. It stirred up the water, and we saw something floating. It came near to the side, and we saw it was a sack. The sack floated so near to the edge that we were able to hook it out with sticks that we had and left it to the side of the canal. I did not know what was inside it, but it was so heavy that we thought it might have been a pig or something like that tied up. We were able to tear the sack open. Then we found a body inside”.
“I was frightened and ran for a policeman”. He added that he could not find a policeman in the Great west road, so he sent a boy on a bicycle to Brentford Police Station.
Peter Emptage added that the wounds he noticed on the left side of the chest of the trunk seemed to be to be stabs. He thought there were about eight wounds.
Mr F. Heath, a Great Western Railway employee, was called down by the boys, and he also told a reporter that the wounds on the chest looked distinctly like stabs.
Peter Edward Thomas Emptage (1922 – 1993) was born to Edward Emptage and Mabel Angelina (Gunnell)
Team member Michele writes:
Apparently Peter got into serious trouble with his mother (my grandmother) as he shouldn’t have been out so late and over the canal and he brought the police to the door.
I spoke to my mum who remembered that Peter actually didn’t mention anything when he came home, but his Mum – Mabel – commented that he looked sick and off colour! Not surprising really….