The Murder on a Train in 1897 That Was Never Solved
Elizabeth Camp boarded a train to Waterloo, when the train arrived she was dead.
On the evening of 11th February 1897, a train pulled into Waterloo Station in London. In one of the second-class carriages pushed under the seats was the dead body of a woman.
The female was well dressed, with a wound to her head. No weapon was found in the compartment.
From the crime scene, it became clear that the woman had put up a fight before being murdered. The police also found a set of cuff links in the compartment.
The body was taken to Lambeth mortuary, where an inquest would be held.
Identifying the Body
The identification of the body came quickly. Waiting at the train station had been the woman’s fiancée; when he saw the incident, he went to the hospital, where he identified the victim.
The murdered woman was Miss Elizabeth Kemp (30), a barmaid who worked in the Good Intent Tavern in Walworth.
The South Wales Echo, later that day, told of the brutal and deliberate crime that had occurred against this woman. A sharp weapon caused the injuries; her head had been lacerated and battered.
The body had been warm on discovery, indicating she had been killed close to Waterloo. However, by the time of an examination at the local hospital St. Thomas’s, the woman had passed away.
Last Day Plans
Mr Berry, Kemp’s fiancée, stated that she was employed as the manageress at the Good Intent. She had a good reputation there and was popular with the customers.
Before starting this profession, she had also been a nurse for one of the hospitals in London.
On the day of her murder, she had visited her sister and brother-in-lake in Hammersmith. She had arranged to meet Berry as she returned on the 2025 train.
After leaving her sisters house in the afternoon, she went to a shop in Hounslow. Here she met her other sister, who she helped her with chores before getting on the train for home.
Relationships and Marriage
Kemp had seeing Edward Berry for a while. The couple had a brief period apart when it was rumoured that Kemp was seeing another man. Unfortunately, no one knew the identity of this man.
When the relationship ended, she returned to Berry a fruitier. Berry had his shop opposite the Good Intent pub.
He was distressed by his finance’s death and willing to give all the information he could. Unfortunately, the couple’s wedding was only a month away.
The last time Berry saw her was at noon when she told him she was using her half-day to visit relatives.
The Murder Weapon
A search of the railway line after the murder, investigators came across a chemist’s pestle. On the bowl were blood and hair. It was found lying between two earlier stations.
The police had the murder weapon but no motive for the killing. Kemp’s brooch, earrings and silver-mounted umbrella were found on the body.
Her sister commented that she had put Kemp in an empty second-class carriage. This indicated that the assailant had entered the carriage after the train left.
She also stated that she did not think the cuff-links found belonged to her sister as she wore gold ones, not bone ones.
The inquest into the murder occurred on 20th February 1897. It was revealed that the murder had caused terror amongst women travelling the line.
Once identification of the body was carried out, the coroner adjourned the inquiry for a month to enable a full investigation to start.
It was also confirmed that the fatal injuries had been inflicted by the pestle found on the railway line.
A store dealer had come forward and stated that he sold a pestle to a man, similar to the one used to kill Ms Kemp, in the public house where she worked.
The murder also questioned the safety of box carriages, where women sat with no protection from a guard boxed up in the corner.
Who Killed Ms Kemp?
The inquest passed a ruling of “wilful murder against some person or persons unknown.”
The case remained unsolved, like the other famous Victorian murders. There was a suspect, but the police were late informing the Metropolitan Police; he was not arrested.
The case also highlighted many problems with investigations, such as the area not being cordoned off when a murder occurred.
The press, having announced the murder using the name of Miss Camp, changed the narrative for the next hundred years as the murder is known as the Murder of Miss Camp to many.