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CRIME CHRONICLES: A murder in the 30s that rocked Ruislip

 Published on: 4th April 2022   |   By: Bryn Holmes   |   Category: Uncategorized

This month, we look at a murder from just over 80 years ago, where the relatively tranquil street of Rosebury Vale was the site of a gruesome killing.

Sidney Paul, his wife Claire and their three daughters moved to the Ruislip area in 1938 following a business endeavour in Belgium that failed, looking for a fresh start in the London suburb. However, this wasn’t to be. 

The family was a victim of two-house fires within two weeks of the move, and Sidney continued to struggle with employment, feeling the continuing effects of the 1930s’ Great Slump. After losing another job as a salesman, he found himself unable to tell his wife, pretending to go to work in the morning. Sidney ended up borrowing £150 from his sister to support the family.

On the morning of Sunday, October 16, a neighbour named Arthur Jones, found Sidney on his doorstep with a razor wound, claiming an intruder had broken into his house. Going to the Paul house, the pair found Claire badly injured, having been hit 15 times over the head with a hatchet. She died the following day.

An agitated Sidney told police that a tall man with a facial scar and a blue coat had committed the crime, in a bid to steal the borrowed £150, giving police a button from the intruder’s coat as evidence.

However, Sidney’s story began to fall apart when officers matched the button to four others discovered in his house, and that his wounds were self-inflicted. Eventually, he was convicted of the murder of his wife for financial gain.

Sidney was sentenced to death for the murder, but this was later commuted to life imprisonment. It is unknown what happened to him afterwards, but it can assumed he died in prison.

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