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The Cannock Chase Murders

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“…I am not responsible for the murder of Christine Darby…”
Raymond Morris, Sunday Mercury, 17 April 2011
On 1 December 1964 in Leamore, a man believed to be Morris pretends to be an uncle of nine-year-old Julia Taylor and persuades her to get into his car. She is sexually assaulted, strangled and left for dead in Bloxwich Lane. A passing cyclist saves her from freezing to death.
On 8 September 1965, six-year-old Margaret Reynolds is travelling to school in Aston, Birmingham. She vanishes on the way. Within hours, two thousand people are searching for her. Their search is in vain.
On 30 December 1965, five-year-old Diane Tift says goodbye to her brother, Terrence, and walks to her grandmother’s house on nearby Chapel Street, Bloxwich. She never arrives.
On 12 January 1966, the body of a young girl is discovered by a workman, in a Cannock Chase ditch at Mansty Gully. Police are called and when the body is lifted out, another is discovered underneath. They have found Margaret Reynolds and Diane Tift.
On 14 August 1966, ten-year-old Jane Taylor goes missing during a bicycle ride near Cannock Chase. Her body is never found. Morris is widely considered to be guilty of her disappearance.
In October 1966, Morris is brought in by police, accused of taking two girls to his home, putting them in separate rooms and undressing them. During their interviews, neither girl is able to accurately corroborate the other's testimony and so no charges are brought.
On 19 August 1967, seven-year-old Christine Ann Darby is playing near her Camden Street home in Caldmore. Her friend, Nicholas Baldry, is asked by a man with a local accent in a grey car for directions to Karmer Green - the local pronunciation for Caldmore Green. This same man then approaches Christine and persuades her to get into his car. Nicholas is the last person to see her alive.
A grey car is later seen on Cannock Chase and reported to be an Austin A55 or A60. Search parties are launched and three days later, a soldier finds Christine’s naked body under bracken at Parr’s Warren, just one mile from where Margaret and Diane’s bodies were found. She has been raped and suffocated.
On 4 November 1968, ten-year-old Margaret Aulton is building a bonfire for Guy Fawkes Night on waste ground in Bridgeman Street. Raymond Morris pulls up beside her in his green and white Ford Corsair and tells her to get in, saying he has fireworks for her. She refuses but Morris is insistent and too strong to resist. Mrs Lane, a young housewife, happens upon the scene and shouts at Morris to stop. Morris jumps back into his car and flees. Mrs Lane makes a mental note of his registration number and calls the police.