Author Topic: Jane McMurtrie (93)-Murdered-Hensall, ON-1973  (Read 385 times)

George Fayne

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Jane McMurtrie (93)-Murdered-Hensall, ON-1973
« on: May 24, 2018, 09:55:11 PM »
Is anyone from the Exeter/Hensall/Zurich area familiar with this crime?

From the Zurich Citizens News (11 October 1973):  Links here and here.

Police Continue Hunt for Possible Clues

Police are still looking for some type of evidence which might give them a lead in the strangling death of a 93 year-old Hensall widow, found in her home last Friday afternoon.

Mrs. Jane McMurtrie was found naked in her upstairs bedroom by neighbours.  She had been last seen by neighbours raking leaves on her front lawn Thursday afternoon.  Her home is on the main street of Hensall near the westerly limits of the village.

Mrs. Fred Vivian who made Mrs. McMurtrie one main meal a day, brought her groceries and helped with some housework, said he [sic] went to the house at 1:20 pm Friday and found the rear door unlocked.

She said she was suspicious, went next door and attempted to telephone Mrs. McMurtrie but found the telephone was no working. 

Police said the telephone line at the victim's house had been cut, but added that workmen had been repairing the line earlier in the week.

Insp. Tom Lennon of the OPP criminal investigation branch in Toronto said the cause of Mrs. McMurtrie's death was not immediately apparent.  There were no external signs of violence.  An autopsy Saturday at Stratford General Hospital revealed the strangulation. 

Police said forensic laboratory experts are trying to determine if she was sexually assaulted. 

Insp. Lennon said there were signs of attempted entry in two locations at the large tree-shaded frame house where Mrs. McMurtrie had lived for 35 years. 

Police called in from Sebringville and Goderich to assist the Exeter OPP detachment made [sic] a house-to-house canvass Sunday and Monday to determine if anyone had seen anything that could be of assistance.

Police and the victim's niece, Mrs. Stewart Bell of Zurich Road, described Mrs. McMurtrie as "in good health for her age."

Mrs. Bell said her aunt was able to do many chores in the house and around the yard although she couldn't walk well.  She was "a good church goer and a good giver," Mrs. Bell said.

Mrs. McMurtrie had lived along [sic] for 11 years since the death of her second husband.  She had moved to the King Street house after the death of her first husband, a farmer. 

"She had no family, no children," Mrs. Bell said.  "She had those two cats--they were barn cats--and they were her children.  She called them her children."  Mrs. Bell took the cats home. 

Police said the house was not ransacked, nothing was taken, and there was no apparent motive for the killing.

It was the third slaying involving elderly women who lived alone in this area in the past three years.

A 70 year-old Clinton woman was stabbed to death in January 1970, and a 76 year-old Crediton woman was beaten to death in November of the same year. 

Funeral service for the late Mrs. McMurtrie was held Monday at Bonthron Funeral Chapel, Hensall, with internment in Baird's Cemetery.  Rev. Donald Beck officiated.


From the Zurich Citizens News (29 November 1973):  Link here.

Remand Suspect in Hensall Murder Case

Lloyd George Salter, of RR#3, Kippen was remanded to November 29 when he appeared in provincial court at Goderich Thursday on a charge of non-capital murder of a 94 year old Hensall woman.

Salter was arrested Tuesday at Hensall where he was employed as a sheet metal worker. 

The naked body of Mrs. McMurtrie was found October 5, in an upstairs bedroom of her home. 

She had been strangled and sexually assaulted.


From The Globe and Mail (5 April 1974):

Goderich--Lloyd George Salter, 39, of nearby Kippen, was acquitted yesterday in a non-capital murder charge in the Oct. 5, 1973 slaying of Jane Burton McMustrie [sic], a 93 year-old widow.  The Ontario Supreme Court jury deliberated for 3 1/2 hours at the end of a nine day trial in this community, 55 miles northwest of London.

« Last Edit: May 24, 2018, 10:05:06 PM by George Fayne »

George Fayne

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Re: Jane McMurtrie (93)-Murdered-Hensall, ON
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2018, 10:01:06 PM »
Here's Jane's house (from the Zurich Citizens News):