The mysterious and gruesome Potters Bar Golf Club murders

Potters Bar Golf Course

The bodies of Albert Welch and Elizabeth Currell were both found on Potters Bar golf course in the 40s and 50s. - Credit: Geograph

In the 1940s and 50s, Potters Bar Golf Club saw two gruesome murders, with one remaining a complete mystery to this day.

Opened in 1923, the course was regarded as a challenge for golfers with its many hazards, but on April 29, 1955, it would be a crime scene when the body of Elizabeth Currell was found near the 17th tee.

She had been hit in with an iron tee marker and the only clue for police was a single bloody palm print left on the weapon by the killer.

Elizabeth, who lived in Cranborne Road and worked at a shop in Drakes Lane, spent the evening of the 29th at home with her husband.

They had sat and ate the dinner she had prepared. Elizabeth then washed up and he went upstairs to change. When he came back down, his wife had gone.

This was nothing out of the ordinary as Elizabeth often walked their dog at the golf course in the evening, but when the clock hit 9.30pm and she had yet to return, her husband became concerned. This turned to panic when he found the dog, alone, in the back garden.

He went to look for her before reporting her missing, and the search for Elizabeth began.

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That night, a quantity surveyor had gone for a walk across the golf course between 8.15 and 8.30pm and spotted two people at the 17th tee, believing them to be embracing.

The body of Elizabeth Currell was found at the same tee by a police constable on the morning of April 30. She had been hit four times by a tee maker and an attempt to strangle her made.

The killer’s bloody palm print had been left on the weapon, leading police to start the painstaking work of taking prints from almost 9,000 men, aged between 16 and 45.

After ruling out more than 4,000 of these prints, they found their match. Michael Queripel.

A 17-year-old who worked as a local government clerk with Potters Bar Urban District Council, he was arrested on August 19, 1955. He quickly told police: “I hit her and then I tried to strangle her.”

He later revealed that he had suffered a migraine and walked to the golf course to clear it, but he hit out, attacking Elizabeth and killing her. He pleaded guilty to murder at the Old Bailey and was jailed.

Potters Bar Golf Club had already been a murder scene before the death of Elizabeth, and in far more mysterious circumstances.

The lake on the seventh hole where Albert Welch's body was found (Picture: Google)

The lake on the seventh hole where Albert Welch's body was found. - Credit: Archant

Alberth Welch, a railway electrician who lived in Cranborne Crescent with his wife and son, was last seen on the night of November 17, 1947.

He was spotted by a railway guard who said that he attended an emergency call on the line, and remembered him getting on her train at about 11pm, going to Hadley Wood.

But Albert’s wife believed she had heard him enter the house around 10.15pm, and when she came down the following morning, she found that tea had been made.

She also found a note earlier that night, which read: “I have gone for a walk. Shan’t be home for tea.”

But he never returned home and an investigation was launched.

On May 22, 1948, a ball boy went diving in Tiddlers Pond near the seventh tee. Rather than finding golf balls, he discovered a severed hand that had been rotting in the water.

The pond was drained and the gruesome scene quickly revealed itself. A body, burnt and hacked up, was recovered along with a hacksaw which an inquest concluded was used to dismember the body.

Both police and Albert’s wife – after some convincing – believed the body to be his. This was supported by a plaster cast of the severed foot fitting into his boots and an abscess in the upper jaw, the cause of the tooth pain he had long complained of.

Little progress in finding the murderer was made over the ensuing months, and on July 2, 1948, police dug up a neighbouring garden that backed onto the golf course as police believed he was likely killed at a nearby house before being dumped in the pond.

It is not known if anything was found, but the owner of the garden, an ex-Met police officer who assisted detectives, later said he didn’t think anything was discovered.

An inquest was held on November 18, 1948. It found Albert had been killed by a blow to the forehead and that the killer had tried to burn the dismembered body.

A verdict of murder by a person or persons unknown was returned, caused by a blow on the forehead on either November 17 or 18, 1947.

More than 70 years on, the death of Albert Welch remains a mystery.

Repeated Freedom of Information requests by the Welwyn Hatfield Times to make files regarding the murder public have been rejected, with 2045 the earliest date they will be made available.

Until then, his gruesome death will likely remain unsolved.