There is still one cold case unsolved murder in Newquay, from July 1958, the murder of Horace Hand (Harold Hand). Down in Newquay and Cornwall, we’re lucky to have a lower crime rate than elsewhere in the country. But that doesn’t mean that it’s all sunshine and flowers.
Unsolved murder of Horace Hand (Harold Wilfred Hand) at Newquay, Cornwall on 11 July 1958
It’s been 55 years since Horace Hand was on holiday in Newquay. It was a hot Friday in the middle of July, and he was enjoying a holiday from his home in Oldham.
A recently retired milkman, the 65 year old pensioner was on holiday with his wife, daughter and son-in-law. As it was the last day of their holiday Horace’s daughter and son in law had gone into town shopping, while Horace and his wife headed out to Towan Headland to sit in the car and enjoy the views.
Horace told his wife he was going for a stroll and got out of the car, it was just 11.30am. She watched as he slowly strolled across the grass and went into the public toilets on the headland …. where a killer was lurking.
Not many seconds later three holidaymakers, from the North, entered the lavatories, to discover Horace collapsed in the stalls and a man bending over him. who said Horace had had an accident and explained that he’d run to a telephone to call an ambulance – and ran out. As soon as he left they realised Howard had been attacked, his pipe and tobacco were on the floor and he’d been battered with a small beach boulder wrapped in a newspaper. By a bizarre twist, the newspaper had been a copy of the Daily Mail, from 3 days earlier, where the front page had carried another local murder story where a stone had been wrapped in a newspaper.
The men realised they’d just let the killer go and gave chase, but the killer gave them the slip.
Few details of the murder were gathered. He was wearing a short-sleeved green shirt, was in his mid-20s, with a round face, fair complexion and dark hair greased and brushed back. Because of the green shirt this murder was referred to as “The Green Shirt Murder”, or, as time has passed, “The Green Jumper Murder”.
For the police a murder in peak season gave them some problems. The town was crowded with visitors, who would all be returning home within two days. Over the weekend they made more than 4,000 calls, but got no leads. Police asked people to indicate where they’d been at 11.30am that morning by showing them an aerial photograph of the beaches and headland.
Detective Superintendent Sidney Roberts summed it up: “It was an impossible task. There were green-shirted holidaymakers by the score in Newquay, but every one of them had a satisfactory alibi. I’m convinced that the motive was theft.”
This murder in Newquay, as well as other true crime Cornwall murders, can be explored in a book by Nicola Sly and John van der Kiste called More Cornish Murders published in 2010.