Most people love taking trains. They’re fast, comfortable and spacious. For most, trains are a far better mode of transport than buses, cars or planes. Trains have bathrooms, dining cars, and plenty of leg space. If you’re on the train and you’re beginning to feel like you’ve been sitting down for too long, you can always take a walk down the corridor and stretch your legs. If you want to smoke, you can always pop out quickly at the next stop and get back on before the train leaves. And if you’re sitting beside someone you don’t particularly like, you can always stand up and leave. After all, trains usually have many carriages with plenty of seats. So if you move because you did not fancy sitting beside that specific someone, they won’t even find out.
Plus, trains are romantic. Who hasn’t dreamed of taking a long train journey with that special someone, chatting for hours as the landscape you’re travelling through changes dramatically. Add in a rain storm and a cup of coffee and a train journey could well be the beginning of a romantic love story.
But it could also be the beginning of a horror story. Turns out that crime novels like Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie and Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith are far more realistic than one could have imagined. Most of us can’t imagine witnessing a cold-blooded murder on a train. And yet they do happen. Some are as simple as a domestic dispute gone wrong. Others are far more mysterious. Some killers get caught. Others get to walk off the train and roam among us. But all involve gruesome murders. Read below to find out about the 15 most gruesome murders on trains.
15. The First Train Murder That Terrified The Victorians
The murder of Thomas Briggs, which occurred in 1864, is considered by many to be the first railway murder to have ever happened. On Saturday, in 1864, the train from Fenchurch Street on the North London Railway came into Hackney at 10:11pm. Two bank clerks got on the train and entered a first class carriage. They immediately noticed that the carriage was covered in blood. A guard was called in and the carriage was examined. The guard found more blood, a black-beaver hat, a stick and a bag. The carriage was sent for examination and the articles found were handed to the Metropolitan Police.
At around 10:20pm, the driver of a train travelling in the opposite direction noticed something strange between Hackney Wick and Bow Station. He stopped the train and soon found the strange obstacle to be an unconscious, injured man. The man was almost seventy years old and was identified as Thomas Briggs, the chief clerk of a bank. Briggs died of his wounds the following day. The motive for his murder was robbery as his gold watch and chain, as well as gold-eyeglasses, could not be found.
A jeweller named John Death soon came forward and described to the police a German man who exchanged Briggs’ gold chain. Shortly after, a cabman whose daughter was previously engaged to Briggs told the police that he found a small box with the name ‘Death’ on it that was given to one of his children by a German man named Franz Muller. He also said that he bought the black beaver hat on behalf of Muller. When the police went to arrest Muller, they learned that he had sailed for New York. The police followed him on a steamship. They got there three weeks before Muller and upon his arrival Muller was arrested.
14. Percy Lefroy Mapleton – A Train Killer And The First Man To Appear On A “Wanted” Poster
In 1881, a 64-year-old coin dealer was on the express train going from London Bridge Station to Brighton. At some point during the journey he went to a first-class smoking compartment where he was joined by a 21-year-old man Percy Lefroy Mapleton. When the train stopped at Preston Park Station, Mapleton got off the train. He was covered in blood and hat lost his hat, collar and tie. There was a gold watch-chain hanging from his shoe.
Naturally, he raised suspicion. Mapleton declared that two men had tried to rob him. For the rest of the journey Mapleton was accompanied by a ticket inspector. In Brighton, Mapleton told the station master, and later the police, that he had been wounded during the attack. He was sent to the hospital where his wounds were inspected. The wounds appeared to be too superficial and light for the amount of blood that Mapleton was covered in. A detective accompanied Mapleton to his relatives’ house.
Soon, the police found a body of an elderly man who had been gruesomely shot, stabbed and robbed. His name was Isaac Gold. Meanwhile, Mapleton had tricked the detective he was with and disappeared. The police issued a “wanted” poster that appeared in newspapers all over the country. This was the first ever “wanted” poster used by the police. Mapleton was eventually captured and even confessed to another murder. He later withdrew his confession but was executed nonetheless.
13. Elizabeth Annie Camp Had Her Head Smashed Open With A Chemist’s Pestle
In 1897, Edward Berry, who was a fruit retailer, was waiting on the platform of Waterloo for the 7.42pm train from Hounslow. He was supposed to meet his fiancée off the train and they were supposed to discuss their wedding. However, when the train arrived his fiancée, Elizabeth Annie Camp, was nowhere in sight. Berry was about to go home when he noticed crowds at the other end of the train. Curious, he went up to see what the commotion was all about.
It turned out that a carriage cleaner was walking along the train when she noticed legs protruding from beneath a seat. On further inspection, she found the body of a woman. The body was that of Berry’s fiancée, Elizabeth Annie Camp.
Camp’s head was smashed open brutally and her pockets were rifled. Thus, the motive appeared to be robbery. Camp’s sister, who had seen Camp off, stated that the train compartment was empty when Camp entered. A porter, who helped the women with a couple of packages, confirmed this. The police found the murder weapon that was thrown away on the railway line. It was a chemist’s pestle. No suspect was ever found.
12. Mary Money Is Gruesomely Mutilated And Her Killer Goes Free
At 10:55 on a Sunday evening in 1905, a sub-inspector Peacock was strolling through the Merstham Tunnel on the Brighton line when he discovered the body of a woman. The body was gruesomely mutilated. No identification clues could be found on the body and it was first believed that the woman had committed suicide by jumping in front of a train. A description of the woman was included in the Monday morning newspapers and a man named Robert Money came forward, identifying the woman as his sister, Mary Money.
During the investigation, a guard confessed that he had seen the woman with a young man in a first class carriage, sitting closely together. A short while later he saw the young man leave that same carriage. A signalman at Purley Oaks also came forward and said that he saw a woman and a young man struggling in a first class carriage. But, because amorous fights were not unusual, he did not pay any attention to it.
But as far as her family knew, Mary had no boyfriend. Her purse was not on her so some speculate that she had been robbed. The killer of Mary Money was never found. However, her brother, Robert Money, was a shady character and some speculate it was him who killed his sister or at least knew more than he said.
11. Debbie Linsley – Stabbed Eleven Times On A Train That Had 70 Other Passengers
In 1988, Debbie Linsley, a 26-year-old hotel receptionist boarded a train in the suburbs of London. She sat alone in an old fashioned compartment. When the train pulled into the Victoria train station, Debbie was found slumped in a pool of blood. Apparently, during the journey, Debbie was stabbed eleven times in the face, neck, chest and abdomen. The weapon used was a kitchen knife. According to a post-mortem examination, Debbie fought her killer and died from a wound to her heart. Nothing from her was stolen which ruled out the theory of robbery.
According to the police, there were about seventy other passengers on the train, fifty-five of whom had been traced. Before Debbie was stabbed, she smoked two cigarettes and had a bite of her sandwich. A woman who sat in the adjoining compartment claimed she could hear the screams of a woman after the train left Brixton. She claimed that she saw a red-haired, large man in his forties leave Debbie’s compartment and limp away. Another witness claimed that the attacker was a stocky blond man in his thirties.
There are no stops from Brixton to Victoria so the man had to be still be on board when the train arrived at Victoria. The attacker was injured and left blood at the scene of the crime but his blood was not in the DNA database. In 2013, the police were offering 20,000 pounds for those who could help solve the murder.
10. A 19-Year-Old Student Stabbed For Glancing At The Killer
In 2006, a 22-year-old man Thomas Lee Wood fatally stabbed the 19-year-old student Thomas Grant on a train from Glasgow to Devon. Apparently, Wood stabbed Grant because Grant looked in his direction after Wood told his girlfriend that he would steal the food she was planning on eating that evening. During the journey Wood had a row with his girlfriend over railway tickets. Apparently, he had torn his ticket and stated that he would rather stab the ticket inspector than get off the train. He then stalked the carriage of the train and stabbed Grant with full force. The train was full of passengers, some of whom were children.
Wood had 21 previous convictions for forty offences. One of them included a six month sentence for a burglary. The murder shook the public. What shocked them the most was that the murder was absolutely unprovoked and occurred in a packed railway carriage.
9. Woman Stabbed Fatally On The CTA Red Line
In 2016, a woman was fatally stabbed on the CTA Red Line. A man stabbed her in the neck multiple times as a result of a domestic dispute. Witnesses claim that they heard the couple mention a child during the dispute. The woman died on the spot and passengers fled in horror, screaming. The woman put up a fight and at one point the attacker’s knife fell down. However, he retrieved it, finished the woman off and got off the train as if nothing happened.
The woman was 25 years old and a mother of a young daughter. She had apparently had issues with alcohol and was just getting her life back on track. Her family said they knew she had recently met a man whom she started dating. However, they didn’t know anything about him. The attacker was taken into custody.
8. A 15-Year-Old Girl Killed On Her Way Back To Boarding School
On a quiet summer’s day in 1964, a 12-year-old train spotter got the shock of his life when he opened the door of the train’s bathroom. There lay the body of a teenage girl soaked in blood. The boy ran down the carriage, screaming and another passenger pulled the emergency cord of the Southampton-Reading train. The train had just eased out of the Basingstoke station when the young train spotter made the terrifying discovery.
The body was that of Yvonne Laker, a 15-year-old girl who was on her way back to boarding school. During her journey, she was dragged into the bathroom and her throat was slit with a broken sherry bottle. Sixty passengers were on the train when Laker was killed. Forty of them came forward and were cleared. The other twenty did not.
Shortly after, a suspicious man (pictured above) was arrested for motoring offences. He confessed he was on the train on which the girl was murdered and saw the killer drag her to the bathroom. However, fragments of green glass that seemed to contradict the man’s story were found in his pockets. He claimed he did not know how it got there. He was charged with murder but the evidence was unsatisfactory and he was cleared.
7. Mysterious Spy Laetitia Toureaux Murdered Under The Most Mysterious Circumstances
In 1937, a beautiful woman named Laetitia Toureaux boarded the train at Porte de Charenton. It took only forty-five seconds to reach the next stop, Porte Doree. Since all the second class carriages were full, Laetitia sat in the empty first class carriage. When the train came into Porte Doree, six more passengers boarded the first class carriage. They jumped out immediately though – Laetitia had been stabbed in the neck by a nine-inch dagger. The angle of entry of the blade made it unlikely she committed suicide. And yet no one saw anyone enter or leave the first class carriage. It seemed that the killer had boarded the train when it was travelling through the tunnel, stabbed Laetitia and left the train in forty five seconds.
But when the police started digging, they found that Laetitia’s life was full of secrets. Laetitia was actually born in Italy but married a Frenchman and moved to France. But her husband soon died, leaving her alone and penniless. She found work at a glue factory. Shortly after she was employed by a firm of private detectives and later by the French secret services. Laetitia was tasked with infiltrating the mysterious organization La Cagoule that wanted French monarchy to seize power again. The police hit a brick wall and the case was dropped.
6. Man Hacked To Death On A Train
In 2016, a 55-year-old-man was murdered when travelling in Bhubaneswar-Bangiriposi Superfast train near Betonati railway station on Sunday night. The man, who was on his way back to his village, was killed by a couple of thugs. They slit his throat inside a crowded general compartment of the train. According to witnesses, the thugs then pulled the chain of the train and got off it. The whole thing happened in a couple of minutes and the passengers said they felt completely helpless because the thugs were armed with sharp weapons. The police started an investigation. Their primary suspects are relatives. According to the police, during their investigation they found out that the murdered man was not happy with his son-in-law. It was also found that a divorce case had been pending between his daughter and the man.
5. The Train Murder Of A Young Boy With Golden Curls
In 1914, an errand boy entered a third class compartment on a train from Mildmay Park to the North London Railway. During the journey, the boy suddenly noticed a hand protruding from under the seat. The compartment was searched and the body of a five or six-year-old boy with long, golden curls was found. The marks on his neck suggested that he was strangled.
The boy was identified as the son of John and Agnes Starchfield. John was notorious after he tackled an armed Armenian who shot a man and a woman. John and Agnes were separated and the boy lived with his mother. On that day she had sent him on an errand.
When an investigation began, two signalmen came forward with a piece of cord they found on the line on the day of the murder. Various witnesses came forward saying they saw a man with the boy. John Starchfield was questioned but claimed he was in his bed in a lodging house.
Another witness, Clara Wood, also claimed she saw the boy with a man. She said the man was John Starchfield. Starchfield denied it was him. Another witness also identified Starchfield as the man. But witnesses from the lodging house supported Starchfield. Starchfield was waiting for trial when Wood suddenly failed to attend cross-examination. The case was never solved but Starchfield insisted that the killer must have been a friend of the Armenian he had tackled.
4. A Train Murderer Lets The Witness Go Free And Gets Caught Because Of It
In 1901, three passengers were in a third class carriage on the train from Southampton to Waterloo. The three passengers were Mrs. Rhoda Kind, a 54-year-old mother of two, William Pearson, a farmer in his forties, and a 23-year-old George Parker.
At some point during the journey, Parker got up to go the bathroom which was located towards the back of the compartment. Pearson was asleep and King was standing up, glancing out the window. Suddenly, King heard gunshots and felt blood on her face. She turned around and saw that Parker had shot Pearson who was slowly dying. Pearson then shot King. A bullet went through her cheek and got stuck below her jaw.
King asked Parker why he did it and he said he needed money. He asked her if she had any. King gave him a shilling from her purse and tried to stop her bleeding cheek with handkerchiefs. Parker, seeing her struggle, gave her his. Parker emptied Pearson’s pockets and even offered King a sovereign. As per King’s advice he threw out the gun and as the train approached a platform, jumped off. King started screaming that he was a murderer and Parker was caught. He later said he wished he had killed King, for if he had, he would have gotten away.
3. A Cold-Blooded Murder For Money
In 1910, John Nisbet, who was a cashier at the Stobswood Colliery Company was travelling on a train from Newcastle to Widdrington. Nisbet travelled to Widdrington every alternate Friday to pay the wages at a colliery near a station. On that particular day Nisbet was carrying about 370 pounds in a small leather bag.
The end destination of the train was Alnmouth. When the train came into Alnmouth, a porter entered Nisbet’s compartment and noticed blood on the floor. The compartment seemed empty but under the seat he found the body of a man, with his face down. The police were called and an investigation was started. During the investigation it came to light that a man named John Dickman was seen in the company of Nisbet. Dickman clearly lied when he was questioned by the police. He was charged and eventually executed. The motive for murder was robbery.
2. A Woman Murdered On A Train By A Mystery Man
In 2013, the body of a young woman was found in the bathroom of an AC coach of a train that was passing through Uttar Pradesh. The woman was around 25 years old. Her throat had been slit with a sharp-edged weapon and she was discovered in a pool of her own blood. Passengers that were present on the train claim that a man had accompanied the woman. According to them, the woman dined with the man at Barauni in Bihar. After the woman and the man boarded the train, the woman left to go to the bathroom and the man followed her.
The woman’s bag was found on her seat. However, it did not carry any documents that would aid in identifying her. She also did not have a train ticket. A badge of the paramilitary Central Industrial Security Force was found near her bag. The man could not be found.
1. A Girl Assaulted And Killed On An Overnight Train
In 2014 a temporary railway worker in Thailand raped and killed a 13 year-old girl on an overnight train. He then threw her body out the window. The murder caused an uproar in the country as people began petitioning that rapists be executed.
The attacker was 22 years old. His job was to make the beds in sleeper cars. The attacker confessed to his crime. He said he drank beers and did drugs with his colleagues during his shift. He then raped the girl who was sleeping in a lower bunk during the trip to Bangkok. The girl was travelling with her two sisters. They were on a trip to see the capital and it was their first journey alone. When the two sisters, aged 22 and 10, woke up and noticed their sister missing, they immediately notified the train staff. The girl’s naked body was found in the bushes along the tracks three days later. The attacker received capital punishment and his colleague, who helped him, received four years in jail.