Wednesday, 7 August 2013

The Beauty In The Bath Murder

This notorious case goes back to 1983, on the Wirral, where I come from, and indeed, had a family connection of sorts to it.  Cynthia Bolshaw was a fifty year old Beauty Consultant working in the Boots store in Chester.  She was found dead, naked, in her bath at her bungalow in the well-to-do village of Heswall.  Reports vary  saying death was to strangulation and to asphyxiation.  Police found her diaries which revealed a list of 200 men friends, and much was made of her private life in newspapers.  (If it had been a guy, no doubt he would have referred to as a stud)  

    My family connection came from the listing of a taxi firm.  Enquiries revealed that it was registered to my father, whom had ceased trading some years before, but he was visited by detectives.  He realised that the person they should have been talking to was his younger brother, who had a habit of trading under my dads` firms` name.  He took them to see him and it was shown that Miss Bolshaw had been taxied about by his wife, not him. 

    The case ran cold but with the advances in DNA technology, 100,s of DNA samples were taken and eliminated.  Then the name of John Taft emerged.  Taft was a director of a double glazing company.  He denied all knowledge of Miss Bolshaw.  A former wife of Taft told of one night waking up to find Taft had his hands around her throat.  Of much more interest was her claim that Taft asked her to provide a false alibi for him, and that he had burned the clothes he wore that night and then buried it in the garden.  A newly remarried Taft was arrested and questioned about the information they now had.  He admitted that he HAD been with her on October 9th 1983, but left her alive.  He said that he asked his then wife to provide an alibi and burnt the clothes so he would not be wrongfully arrested for the crime.  He claimed in court that he was burying bacon rind for animals.  The Jury did not believe him.  He said that went to her home to do a "Foreigner" - a cash in hand job.  He said he had sex with her which accounted for his semen on her negligee.  In November 1999, he was convicted of murder and sentenced to a minimum of twelve years but he always claimed his innocence.

    Police tried to trace a man who had supposedly gone flat hunting in Chester, two months before her death, with no luck.  Yet, Miss Bolshaw had only been in her home for about six months.  She had also cashed in an insurance policy and had withdrawn nearly £6,000 from her bank. Police had managed to account for just over £800 of this amount.  Her car was found abandoned in a gateway by a road linking the Wirral to North Wales.  This is known to everybody around the Wirral as the "Welsh Road".  Many witness statements were taken by people who had spotted the car.

    In 2009, a solicitor acting for Taft had revealed that a missing forensics file had surfaced which he believes will clear Taft.  It  also reveals a fingerprint was not investigated by Police.  As of now, I do not know if this has happened.  What is known is that he denied knowing her, then forced to admit he did, and that he was there the night she was murdered.  He asked his first wife to lie for him.  He burnt his clothing that he wore that night.   If he is still in prison, then the new appeal must have failed.  If anybody knows different, please let me know the facts.