Shop Murders

  1. Paul Koczula
  2. Mrs. Squires
  3. Williams, the Ratcliff Highway Monster
  4. Mrs. Reville
  5. Chung Ong.

Each shop murder has its own features. No two cases are exactly alike. For crafty premeditation the murder of Mrs. Rasch, the wife of a restaurant keeper in Shaftesbury Avenue, would be difficult to parallel. One evening about seven o’clock, an hour when foreign restaurants are usually busy, a man named Schmerfeld called on Carl Rasch, the husband, whom he knew, and induced the restaurant keeper to go out with him for a long walk. Rasch left behind in the house his wife, the waiter, Paul Koczula, Mrs. Koczula​—​who was also employed on the premises​—​and his four children.

While the children were playing in the street in front of the house and running in and out of the door, Mrs. Koczula suddenly presented herself in their midst and asked one of the girls to go upstairs and play the piano. She obeyed and the woman, saying she did not play loud enough, banged at the keys. All this time Mrs. Rasch was being strangled by Koczula in the room behind the shop and the piano-playing was intended to drown her stifled cries. It is satisfactory to know that the murderous gang was tracked down and paid the penalty of their hideous crime.

The case of an elderly woman, Mrs. Squires, a general dealer of Hoxton, had its mysterious side. She was found strangled in a room behind the shop, there was no evidence of robbery, but the room was disarranged as though the murderer was on the search for something. A significant feature bearing out this hypothesis was the condition of an ornamental clock which stood on the mantel-shelf. It was found lying on its face and had been opened and tampered with. No light was ever thrown on the tragedy. Two cases of shop murders, one at Stepney and one at Kilburn, have occurred of recent years, but the facts will be within the memory of most people and need not be gone into here.