It was the 9th of October, 1965, and 14-year-old Elsie Frost and was spending the afternoon at Snapethorpe School’s Sailing Club in Lupset, Wakefield, with her friends. It was approximately 4PM when Elsie departed to walk the short distance home. Typically, she would walk home with friends but on this afternoon, she wanted to avoid the canal towpath. She had just got a new pair of shoes and knew that route would be muddy due to earlier rain.
As Elsie was walking through the tunnel below the railway line at Horbury, she was savagely attacked. She was stabbed in the head, hand, and back. The stab wound to her back pieced her heart. Due to the stab wound on her hand, it was evident that the teenager had attempted to defend herself against the frenzied attack. Unfortunately, it was unfruitful and she died due to shock and blood loss. A manhunt for the killer was underway immediately. It became the largest manhunt that Wakefild would ever see, with the army even becoming involved. A couple of months after the shocking murder, 33-year-old Ian Bernard Spencer was declared to be guilty by the coroner. He was innocent, he professed, and this claim was corroborated by family members who said they were at home with Ian that afternoon. Ian was eventually acquitted of the murder but always remained under a cloud of suspicion. Police would frequently show up to his home whenever a murder took place in the area and Ian took to writing his daily activities down in a book.
One of the main theories is that Elsie stumbled across two men engaging in homosexual activities, which was illegal in Britain at the time. Another theory is that Elsie had a secret boyfriend who may have been involved. In 2016, an 78-year-old Peter Pickering was arrested in connection with Elsie’s murder. He was bailed out of jail and then re-arrested again in March or 2017. The case still remains unsolved. Elsie’s parents both went to the grave without knowing who killed their daughter or why.