Details of unsolved murders in Hertfordshire released by police

PUBLISHED: 14:46 31 August 2018 | UPDATED: 15:41 31 August 2018

Woodland where Anne Noblett's body was found.
Picture: Supplied by Herts Police

Woodland where Anne Noblett's body was found. Picture: Supplied by Herts Police

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The murky details of historical unsolved murders in Hertfordshire, ranging from stranglings to an arson attack, have been released by police.

Anne Noblett was found dead in woodland at Whitwell, Hertfordshire. Picture: Herts Police.Anne Noblett was found dead in woodland at Whitwell, Hertfordshire. Picture: Herts Police.

Among the victims was Mustafa Zarif, aged 32 at the time, who in December 1995 was taken to a secluded area of Essendon’s Nine Acre Wood, strangled, and put in a shallow pre-dug grave.

In Telford Court, St Albans, 29-year-old Shumin Hussain fell to his death from a ninth-floor window during a disturbance in a flat. It happened in September 2003 and arrests were made, but police have to date been unable to solve the murder.

Information on the incidents was released following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

Revealing details of Patrick Soraghan’s murder in Station Road, Baldock, police wrote: “During an argument between alcoholics living in a derelict building, the victim was stabbed and died three weeks later.” It happened in April 1993, when Mr Soraghan was 46.

Josephine Backshall was found in Bury Green near Bishop's Stortford. Picture: Herts Police.Josephine Backshall was found in Bury Green near Bishop's Stortford. Picture: Herts Police.

A particularly malevolent attack was in River Court, Sawbridgeworth, in April 2001. The 40-year-old victim, Keith Rogers, was asleep when petrol was poured through his flat letter box and ignited. He died of organ failure due to smoke inhalation.

In another unsolved case, Patrick Hurling, 45, was beaten and strangled before his house in Hertford was set on fire in 1990.

Stevenage’s Lister Hospital is also on the list of unsolved murder locations, after Bridget Brosnan was found suffocated in bed in a psychiatric ward. It happened in October 1990 and arrests were made, but the case has remained unsolved.

The two oldest unsolved murders happened in 1956 and 1957. Diane Suttey, 36 at the time, was found strangled in a Hemel Hempstead country lane, and 17-year-old Anne Noblett was also strangled and found in Whitwell woodland.

Shumin Hussain was found in Telford Court, St Albans. Picture: Herts Police.Shumin Hussain was found in Telford Court, St Albans. Picture: Herts Police.

In 1976, Helen Hooper, 31, went missing from her home in Standon after telling her husband that she was leaving him. Her body has never been found.

Another murder victim, Josephine Backshall, 39, was found in a Bishop’s Stortford field having been tied up, hit around the head and strangled in 1974.

There was also the case of railwayman Albert Welch, 45, who bade farewell to his wife in November 1947 in a note saying: “I have gone for a walk. Shan’t be home for tea.”

The Cranborne Crescent resident’s severed hand was discovered in a lake in Potters Bar Golf Club the following year.

Patrick Hurling was found in Bengeo Street, Hertford. Picture: Herts Police.Patrick Hurling was found in Bengeo Street, Hertford. Picture: Herts Police.

The case was reviewed 64 years later.

• READ MORE: Unsolved Potters Bar murder case to be reviewed by detectives 64 years on

• READ MORE: Body in Potters Bar Golf Club lake murder file to remain secret

Mr Welch’s case was not included in the Herts Police list because at the time of the murder Potters Bar was under the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Police.

A Herts Police spokeswoman said: “An unsolved murder is never closed and undetected cases are regularly reviewed by the constabulary.

“It is never too late to get in touch with information.”

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