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Murder, Mystery and My Family

Series 3

Episode 3

Duration: 43 minutes

First broadcast: on BBC One LondonLatest broadcast: on BBC Two Wales HD

Available for 26 days

The barristers explore the case of a poultry farmer who buried the body of his fiancé under a chicken run but claimed to be innocent of her murder.

Crowborough, East Sussex, 1924. 26-year-old Elsie Cameron arrived at the farm of her fiancé, 24-year-old Norman Thorne, determined to set a date for their wedding.

When a few days later Elsie had not returned home to London, her parents raised the alarm. Thorne claimed to know nothing of her whereabouts and offered to help police with their enquiries. But after a tip-off from a neighbour, the net closed in on Thorne. Elsie’s possessions were discovered at his farm, and Thorne changed his story. He claimed that Elsie had committed suicide in his hut and in a panic he had dismembered and buried her body under his chicken run.

Thorne’s account was not believed, and he was charged with Elsie’s murder. A five-day trial was held in Lewes and was dominated by disagreement over the cause of Elsie’s death between two eminent pathologists. Following just half an hour’s deliberation, the jury unanimously found Thorne guilty of murder and on 22 April 1925, at London’s Wandsworth Prison, Norman Thorne was hanged.

Now, nearly a century later, Thorne’s cousin Gordon and his daughter Helen have learned about this chapter of their family history. They are keen to learn more about the case and to try to clear their ancestor’s name.

Sasha and Jeremy explore motive, psychiatry and forensic pathology to establish whether Norman Thorne’s murder conviction may have been unsafe. Can Jeremy convince a judge that Thorne’s conviction was a miscarriage of justice? Show less


Sasha Wass
Jeremy Dein
Clare Wales
James Pearson
Series Producer:
David McConnell
Executive Producer:
Mike Benson
Production Manager:
Zlatina Rankova
Production Department:
Michael Klokkos
Production Company:
Chalkboard TV

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