Harold Hagger's Statements to the Police, 1946

After being questioned by police investigating the murder of Dagmar Petrzywalski, Harold Hagger made
a number of statements, each of which appears to contradict the previous one.  These documents were
in a file of trial documents at the National Archives.  Transcripts of other documents can be found here.

  9th November 1946
  S T A T E M E N T of Sidney SINCLAIR, 25, Little Abington, Cambs. Lorry driver, aged 45 years, who saith:-

I am a lorry driver employed by DICKERSON of Cambridge and I reside at 25, Little Abington, Cambs.

About 10 p.m. on Wednesday, 30th October, 1946, I left Little Abington driving an Albion 8 ton motor lorry No. AER.815, loaded with bricks for a cyder works at East Malling, Kent.

I travelled along the London-Bishops Stortford Road and stopped at JUDD'S cafe, London side of Bishops Stortford.  I arrived at this cafe about 11.30 p.m. and remained until about 3.30 to 3.45 a.m. next morning.  I know this cafe well.  I frequently use it.

I carried on through Blackwall Tunnel, took the left fork along the Woolwich Road to the first traffic lights, turned right, went straight up the hill to the roundabout, turned sharp right to the next traffic lights, turned left, then first right on to the Sidcup by-pass.

I carried on along the by-pass until about 6.30 a.m. when I stopped and asked a cyclist where East Malling was as I wanted to get to the cyder works.  The cyclist told me I was in West Malling and that I had to carry on for a short distance, turn right by the Council yard, then left at the end of the lane and the cyder works was at the bottom of the hill.

I carried out these directions and I reached the cyder works.  At the main gate I saw one of the men going to work.  I asked him where the foreman was and he told me he would be in bed and that I would not get unloaded until 8 a.m.  I saw this man clock in and as far as I can remember the time was ten minutes to seven by the clock.

I left my lorry just outside the gates and walked into the village to try and get a newspaper but I could not find a shop.  I was away from my lorry about 15 minutes.  I waited in my lorry until five minutes to eight, them I had to drive round to the back of the works where they unloaded the lorry.  I left the works as soon as the lorry was unloaded, it was just after 9 a.m.

I took the same road back and when I had travelled for about half an hour I stopped at a cafe on the right hand side of the road facing London.  There were several people in the cafe and I noticed someone tuning the piano.

I remained in this cafe for about half an hour.  I then carried on to Bishops Stortford, and I again stopped at Judd's Cafe.  When I got to Stansted Mount Figit I phoned my boss for order, it was roughly 12.30 p.m. and I was ordered to go to Chrishall Grange for a load of wheat to take to Bury St. Edmunds.

On my journey down to East Malling I did not pick any one up, no one 'thumbed' me for a lift, in fact I saw no one on the road except other traffic which was fairly heavy in both direction.

I had stopped twice before reaching West Malling, on both occasions it was to fill up the radiator.  I can't remember the times or where it was.  I am not very familiar with this road.

Statement taken by Detective Sergeant CHILDERLEY, at 7.30 p.m. on the 9th November, 1946.
  22nd November 1946
  S T A T E M E N T of Sidney SINCLAIR, of 25, Little Abington, Cambridgeshire., who saith :-

I am 45 years of age.  I was born on 27th March, 1901.  At present I am employed as a gardener by Mr. Joshua Taylor at Abington.  I made a statement to Detective Sergeant Childerley of Cambridge Police on Saturday evening the 9th November, 1946, describing my movements on the evening of Wednesday, 30th October and Thursday 31st October, 1946.

The statement I made has been read to me by Chief Inspector Fabian and in the main it is quite true and correct, but there are one or two other things which I can tell you.  In addition to the twice I stopped because my radiator was getting hot I also pulled up on the road as I saw an attache case lying on the verge near the kerb.  I can't say exactly where this was as I am not familiar with the road.  I do remember that it was after I had stopped at some lights, coasted down the hill and then climbed to the top of a long slope, it was about three miles further on from this point.  As I have said when I pulled up and saw the attache case I got down from the cabin, turned it over and had a look at it.  Inside I found a yellow net bag, which had some jam sandwiches wrapped up in paper in it; a vest, it wasn't a woman's vest and a pair of woman's gloves.  I picked the attache case up and took it into the lorry intending to have a look and see what was in it later on.  I continued on the road and did not stop again until I asked the cyclist, as I said before, the way to East Malling Cider Works.  As I told Sergeant Childerley I turned right off the main road by the Council yard and went down a lane where I turned to my left on to the cider works.  When I stopped at the main gate, and after I had asked where the foreman was, I sat in my cab and had a look at the things in the attache case.  After I had looked at them I decided that none of them were any good to keep.  I had a good look at the gloves and though t if they were any good I would use them for driving, but they were womens gloves and too small.  When I drove my lorry to the back of the works as I was told I entered the works through a gateway on to a concrete road.  As I was travelling this concrete road there was a small stream on my offside.  When I got almost up to the back of the factory I met one of the cider works lorries which was trying to get out.  I pulled forward a bit off the road and allowed the factory lorry to pass me and then jumped from my cabin and threw the yellow net bag and pair of gloves into the stream which was just nearby.  I then shifted my lorry to where they wanted the bricks put and it was unloaded.  After it was unloaded I pulled out the same way as I first came in and up the lane which leads to the council yard.  About half way down the lane I threw the vest and the attache case over the hedge on my right hand side.  Before I threw the attache case over the hedge I tore the lid off.  The jam sandwiches which were in the net bag I threw out in the lane near the council yard.

A day or so after I found the attache case and other things I saw in the paper that a woman had been found murdered at Wrotham Hill on the day I was there and that the police were looking for a yellow string bag which they said had been stolen and I got the wind-up and decided to say nothing about it.  I also saw that the police were looking for a puppy, but I never saw a puppy.

This statement has been read to me and is all correct except that you have left out that it was my offside verge where I found the attache case.

Sidney Sinclair

  Statement taken by Chief Inspector Fabian, New Scotland Yard, in the present of Detective Superintendent Smeed, Kent County Constabulary, written down and read over by Detective Sergeant H. Rawlings, New Scotland Yard, in the presence of Chief Inspector Fabian and Detective Superintendent Smeed.
  22nd November 1946
  S T A T E M E N T of Sidney SINCLAIR, of 25, Little Abington, Cambridgeshire, who saith :-

On the 22nd November, 1946, I went in a car with Chief Inspector Fabian and Detective Sergeant Rawlings and took them over the route which I took from Cambridge to East Malling when I delivered the bricks to the Cider Works.

I first pointed out the telephone box at Stanstead Mount Figit where I telephoned my guv'nor about mid-day on Thursday 31st October, 1946, and got my orders to pick up eight ton of Barley at Chrissall Grange.  I next pointed out Judd's Cafe where I stopped for about three hours during the night of Wednesday 30th and Thursday 31st October, 1946.  The next spot I pointed out was the lights at Swanley where I remembered stopping as the lights were against me.  I then pointed out the top of Farningham Hill as the first place I stopped as my radiator was boiling over.  I loosened the cap and stopped there about ten minutes or a quarter of an hour.  I then travelled on and stopped by some stacks, which I pointed out.  I stopped there perhaps under five minutes.  I then travelled on to where I pointed out I saw the attache case and where I stopped and picked it up.  I then took the officers along and showed them where I turned off the main road by the council yard and showed them where I first stopped my lorry by the cider works.  After this I showed them where I went round the outside of the works and on to the concrete road and pointed out where I threw the net bag and pair of gloves into the stream.  After that I showed them the spots in the lane where I threw the vest and two bits of the attache case.  Then I pointed out about the spot where I threw the jam sandwiches.

This statement has been read to me and is true.

Sinclair S.

  Statement taken by Chief Inspector Fabian, New Scotland Yard, in the presence of Detective Superintendent Smeed, Kent County Constabulary, written down and read over by Detective Sergeant H. Rawlings, New Scotland Yard, in the presence of Chief Inspector Fabian and Detective Superintendent Smeed.

  23rd November 1946
  S T A T E M E N T of Sidney SINCLAIR, of 25, Little Abington, Cambridgeshire, who saith :-

I have been cautioned by Chief Inspector Fabian that I need not say anything unless I wish to do so and what I do say will be taken down in writing and may be given in evidence.

Sinclair S.

  I have asked to see you because I have thought this business over all night and feel it is better for me to tell the truth about what happened.  What really happened was that when I was driving along the road after my second stop because my radiator was boiling I saw a woman on my offside and she held her hand up for me to stop.  I pulled in and she said, "I want to get to London".  I said to the woman, " I shan't be going back to London till between 9 and ten".  She said, "Can I come with you now?".  I said, "You can come if you like".  She said, "Where are you going them?"  I said, "I've got to take these bricks to East Malling" and she said, "All right I'll come with you."  She got up into the cab and put an attache case on top of the engine cover.  When she got in she said something about a puppy, but I didn't see one.  She must have put it down by her side or had it tucked inside her coat.  I started off and drove a little way when the woman said, "Will you pull into the little fork turning just along the road as I want to talk to you".  I said, "I will pull in for a few minutes if you like but I haven't got much time.  What do you want to talk about?"  By this time she had pointed to where she wanted me to pull in and I pulled up and switched my headlight off.  It was the one on the nearside.  After I had pulled in and switched my headlight off I said, "Now what you got to talk to me about?"  She said to me, "Have you got any money on you?"  I said, "I always carry plenty of money about with me on this job" and she said, "I haven't got any money and I want to get some to get to London".  She then said, "If you give me any money you cannot interfere with me as I have got the rags on".  She said, "How much money have you got on you?" and I said I had about 17.10.0d. in my coat.  Then she said, "If you give me some money I will play about with you".  Whilst she was talking to me she must have been messing about with my jacket and the next thing I saw was that she had my wallet in her hand and was putting it down her breast.  I turns round to her and said, "So that's your bloody game is it" and with that I hit her round the side of the face.  She started kicking and screaming.  As I went to get hold of her round the neck something came away which turned out to be a vest which she must have been using as a scarf.  With that I went to pull the scarf and must have pulled it too hard and the next thing I saw was the still body of the woman and this frightened me.  I shook her and she just slumped down.  In the struggle the woman had kicked the cab door open and I got a bit panicky and I closed the door, backed out on to the road and drove on towards East Malling.  I travelled on for a distance and half way down a hill, which turned out to be Wrotham Hill, I stopped, got out, went round to my nearside, opened the door, had a look to see if anyone was coming.  I then lifted the body out of the cabin carried the body across the verge and laid her behind the hedge.  I then went back to my lorry, shut the cabin door, went round to the offside and got into my seat.  I let my brake off and let the lorry coast down the hill to start the engine up.  As I was driving away it was getting day break.  I found the attache case was still in my cabin and I then saw the vest the woman had was in the cabin too.  I drove on to West Malling and asked a bloke on a bike the way to East Malling.  He told me to carry on and turn right by the council yard.  I kept on and turned right as he told me and went down the lane, turned left at the bottom as he told me, went down the hill, turned right at the bottom and into the cider works yard.  I pulled up outside the gates of the main entrance.  I switched my headlights and engine off, still being shook over what I had done I made up my mind to get rid of the attache case.  I opened it and saw what was in the case was a yellow net bag with a parcel of food what turned out to be jam sandwiches and a pair of gloves.  I put the gloves and string bag into my pocket.  I got out of my cabin.  As I was getting out a man, who turned out to be a workman, going in to clock on, I asked him where the foreman who is in charge was and asked him what time they started.  He said, "We have two times here, 7 o'clock and 8 o'clock".  He said to me, "I'm afraid you'll not get unloaded until 8 o'clock".  I said, "That's a pity.  I want to get back early to pick a load of barley up".  With that I came back to my lorry and then I walked up a narrow passageway by the side of the factory and walked right the way round back to my lorry again.  I opened my door, got in and sat in my lorry for a while.  I see time must be getting on as the other workmen kept on coming in and clocking on.  I said to one of the workmen, through my window, "Who is the foreman in charge to where these bricks have got to go?"  He said, "He is not here at the present but he should be here any time now".  I waited a short period, a little private car pulled up between the wall and my lorry by the gate, a man got out of the car and he went to walk into the gates.  I said to him, "Who is the gentleman in charge to where I have to take these bricks to?".  He said, I forget the name he said now, "Should be in the office now I'll go and have a look for you".  I follows behind him to the office, he goes in and he said, "He'll be out in a minute."  I goes in, see a gentleman sitting at a desk and asked him where these bricks was going.  He said they would be going out through the other gate on to a bit of waste ground at the back and said, "By the time you get your lorry started the gates will be unlocked."  I gets my lorry started and pulls round the back.  I could not get straight in, I had to back on to a bit of ground at the back.  I goes through the gate on to the concrete road.  I drives along the concrete road and I found that one of their own lorries wanted to get out.  I pulls off the road a bit for him to get by and in the meantime I got out of my lorry took the net bag and gloves out of my pocket and threw them into the stream which runs through the cider works yard and into the cider works.  When I got back to my lorry I managed to turn round and managed to take the bricks to where they wanted them put.  Two of their workmen started to unload and I helped.  We got unloaded just after nine.  When I was unloaded I went over to the foreman to get my ticket signed.  He signed it and I started out the way I came in.  I turned right outside the gates.  I couldn't get out in one turn and had to keep backing.  Eventually, I got going.  I followed the road back on to the lane, turned up the lane, turned right to get back on to the main road.  Proceeding down there I threw the vest out on the off side going down.  Going a little further down I threw parts of the attache case away, which in the meantime I had broke.  A little further down I chucked the jam sandwiches away.  Then I turned left on to the main road and proceeded on my way home.  I stopped at a cafe just the other side of Wrotham Hill and had a cup of tea and a couple of cakes.  I then drove on to Stortford where I stopped at what they call Judd's Cafe where I had my dinner.  After my dinner I proceeded on to Stanstead Mount Figit where I phoned my guv'nor up for orders.  I was told to go to Chressall Grange and pick up eight ton of barley and take it up to Thurston, near Bury St. Edmunds.  I carried out my orders and had to call into Dickersons yard at Cambridge for the invoices for the barley on the way.  After I had got my invoices and got filled up the guv'nor's secretary told me it would be all right for me to take my waggon home that night, so I took my waggon home.  I carried on working for the firm, but this business worried me so I went to the doctor, the Czech doctor, who works with Dr. Brown, to get something for my nerves.  After that I went all to pieces and packed my job up.  That was on the Monday.  I was out of work for nearly a week and then I got a job with Joshua Taylor of Abington as a gardener.  That was where I was working when the officers came to see me.  The wallet you have shown me is the one I had in my jacket in the cab of my lorry and is the one the woman took.

This statement has been read to me and it is true.

Sidney Sinclair

  Statement taken by Chief Inspector Fabian, New Scotland Yard, in the presence of Detective Superintendent Smeed, Kent County Constabulary, written down and read over by Detective Sergeant H. Rawlings, New Scotland Yard, in the presence of Chief Inspector Fabian and Detective Superintendent Smeed.

Other miscellaneous transcripts

Page last updated: 6th April 2009, e-mail: martin@hagger.org