Mystery still surrounds one of Northumberland’s oldest unsolved murders

Taxi driver Evelyn Foster. Pictures from the book Evelyn Foster. Murder or fraud on the Northumberland Moors, by Robert Dixon.
Taxi driver Evelyn Foster. Pictures from the book Evelyn Foster. Murder or fraud on the Northumberland Moors, by Robert Dixon.

Today marks the anniversary of one of Northumbria Police’s oldest unsolved murders.

Evelyn Foster’s badly burned body was discovered on moorland near Otterburn more than 80 years ago.

Evelyn Foster

Evelyn Foster

Her killer has never been caught.

January 6, 1931, started off as a typical day for taxi-driver Evelyn. But she would never return home.

She sustained horrific injuries after being pushed in the back of her taxi, covered in a rug and set on fire.

Officers were alerted to the incident after the 27-year-old somehow managed to struggle out of the burning car, which was pushed down a bank, on rural land between Kirkwhelpington and Otterburn.

Evelyn Foster's burnt-out car.

Evelyn Foster's burnt-out car.

However, she died from her injuries.

Tony Stevens, major investigation team supervisor for the Northumbria Police crime department, said: “With a Force as large as ours, you can imagine we have very detailed archives and periodically, we go back through and take a look at our old cases.

“This particular murder was horrific and it’s no surprise a book was written about it. At the time, there were a number of theories as to who might have committed the crime.

“We never close our murder investigations until they are solved and in some cases we can look to see if there are any new scientific or technological methods we can use to help identify DNA and follow leads which were previously impossible.

The scene of the murder.

The scene of the murder.

“We do know that there is a potential twist in this tale when, a few years later, a man who was sentenced to death for the murder of his boss in Yorkshire, was asked to confess his sins before his execution and is reported to have whispered the words ‘Otterburn’ before he died.”

The story of Evelyn Foster is told in detail by author Robert Dixon in his work, Evelyn Foster. Murder or fraud on the Northumberland Moors.

The murder scene on the moors near Otterburn.

The murder scene on the moors near Otterburn.