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Case Closed – The Murder of Edward Pope

Published on | General

On Saturday 2nd July, the Lock-up helped play a role in solving a murder. The suspects were brought in and held in our cells whilst we invited a group of special investigators to help solve the crime. Whilst this might not be the first set of suspects we have ever held in our cells, they are the first to be held for the entertainment of the paying public. This was of course, the West Midlands Police Museum’s first murder mystery evening: The Murder of Edward Pope.

   The scene was set, it was 1910. George V was on the throne and the Prime Minister was Herbert Asquith. In one small court of back to back houses not far from here at Steelhouse Lane, the body of poor Edward Pope had been found, a serious wound to his head the likely cause of death. He had been seen only minutes before his body was found, entering the court of houses by local bobby, PC George McCray. As such, it must have been one of the people in the court at the time who had committed the deed. The suspects were detained, pending further questioning by our participants for the evening. Those suspects were; Annie, the wife of the deceased, their neighbours, Herbert and Nellie Cooper and local businesswoman, Ida Leigh. These, along with PC George McCray, held the answers as to what had happened to our victim, but were they actually who they seemed? It was up to our investigators to decide.

   Split into smaller groups, our helpers for the evening were tasked with interrogating the suspects, something they took to with great enthusiasm. Across two rounds of questions they challenged the suspects accounts, tried to discover motives as they came up with some plausible (and some less so) reasons as to why they might have committed the murder and pieced together the facts as to what had happened to Edward Pope in his final minutes. After their interrogations and deliberations, the groups laid their accusation at their chosen suspect. Some were right, and some were very wrong. All was revealed moments later when the culprit (or culprits?) was arrested on suspicion of murder, our visitors then being able to leave freely, knowing that they had helped catch this criminal.

   Of course, these were not really people from 1910, our suspects were some of our fantastic volunteers, (not that you’d have believed it) and the atmospheric setting of the Lock-up, the backdrop to our evening. This was just the first murder mystery evening we will hold. If you fancy testing your interviewing skills to see if you can solve the next case, we look forward to welcoming you to the The Murder of Penny Newman on Saturday 24th September.