Body in Potters Bar Golf Club lake murder file to remain secret

PUBLISHED: 15:54 11 November 2011

Potters Bar Golf Club

Potters Bar Golf Club

Archant

MURKY details of the murder of a Potters Bar man are all that can be told until 2031, after our plea to release more information was snubbed.

The unsolved slaying and dismemberment of Albert Welch in 1947 was classified for 75 years, and despite a request by the Potters Bar Edition to lift the lid on details of the original investigation, the case file is set to remain secret.

Mr Welch, 45, who lived in Cranborne Crescent, was last heard of alive in a note to his wife Phyllis, where he wrote: “I have gone for a walk.

“Shan’t be home for tea.”

The simple note proved tragically prescient, as Mr Welch’s mutilated body was found in May the following year, in the lake on the seventh hole of nearby Potters Bar Golf Club.

He was found by a young boy who was looking for golf balls, but instead found Mr Welch’s severed hand.

The lake was later dredged and police found the rest of his body.

Despite Met Police detectives re-examining evidence of the murder hunt, the custodians of the file at the National Archives, in Kew, refused our plea to access the details.

They cited “exemptions” to the Freedom of Information Act, which allow them to circumvent the act.

The two categories under which our request was denied were ‘law-enforcement’ and ‘health and safety’ grounds.

Explanation as to how the decision was reached was 
sketchy, but under health and safety rules it was deemed the revelations could “endanger the physical or mental health of any individual”.

Aside from this, the get-out clauses for not opening the file were unexplained, but listed in general terms.

Government files are usually only closed for 30 years, but can be closed in some circumstances for up to 100 years under the Data Protection Act.

The National Archives’ Sarah Murdoch said: “We are required to consider whether it is in the public interest to release the information you have requested.

“It may be that we decide that the public interest would not be served by releasing the information.”

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