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Frederick Herbert Charles FIELD





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robberies
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: October 2, 1931 / April 5, 1936
Date of birth: 1905
Victims profile: Nora Upchuch, 20 / Beatrice Vilna Sutton, 48
Method of murder: Strangulation / Suffocation
Location: London, England, United Kingdom
Status: Executed by hanging at Wandsworth prison on June 30, 1936

On April 5, 1936, 48-year-old Beatrice Sutton was found dead in her London apartment, Iying across the bed with several pillows stacked over her face. Despite the body's odd posture, there were no immediate signs of a struggle, and her death was first attributed to "natural causes," later shifted to homicide after further investigation proved she had been strangled.

Frederick Field, an airman stationed at nearby Hendon, was charged with the murder on April 25, freely confessing his crime to police. "I had not seen the woman before in my life," he proclaimed, and had not the least ill intentions toward her. I just murdered her because I wanted to murder someone." In later interviews, Field told reporters he was tired of living and had "put himself on the spot" with a capital crime after finding he lacked the courage to commit suicide.

Convicted of murder and sentenced to death on May 13, 1936, Field mounted the gallows on June 30. In the wake of his execution, he was generally acknowledged as the killer of Nora Upchurch, found strangled in 1931 -- - a crime for which he had been previously tried and acquitted at the Old Bailey.


Field, Frederick Herbert

Frederick Herbert Field was a young man who worked for a firm of signboard fixers. On 2 October 1931 the strangled body of a 20-year-old prostitute, Annie Louisa Upchurch, better known as Norah was found by workmen lying in a passageway of an empty shop London's Shaftesbury Avenue.

One of the workmen, Albert Field, had gone there the day before to remove a to let sign and he came under suspicion when he made a statement about handing over the keys of the shop the day before to a man who he believed was about to rent the shop. The Coroners court returned an open verdict.

On 25 July 1933, twenty one months after the death of Norah Upchurch Field walked into the offices of the Daily Sketch and told the news editor that he wanted to make a statement. He told of how he had taken the girl into the empty shop and strangled her and then made off with her handbag. He repeated this story to the police.

When it came to trial Field withdrew this evidence. It became obvious that Field's tactics were only to obtain money from the newspaper and as there was no other evidence the judge directed the jury to acquit him.

By 1936 he was arrested after having deserted from the RAF. He promptly confessed to having killed Beatrice Vilna Sutton. She was a middle-aged widow who had been found suffocated in her flat in Clapham in April 1936.

At his trial he tried the same technique as before and withdrew his confession. Unfortunately for him his confession this time was just a little too detailed and contained facts that could only be known by the killer. This time he was found guilty. He was hanged at Wandsworth prison on 30 June 1936.


30 June 1936 – Frederick Herbert Field

Maybe Frederick Herbert Field would have got away with his killer tendencies, if avarice hadn’t got the better of him.

By day he came across as harmless – merely fixing signs around London. But that masked a murderer who had a predilection for targeting women.


One of his victims could have been a prostitute by the name of Norah, aka Annie Louisa Upchurch, whose 20-year-old body was found next to a shop. Just the day before, Field had been tasked with taking down the ‘To let’ sign at the very same shop.

With little or no evidence to go on, the coroners left the verdict open, but just under two years later, Field swanned into a newspaper office and shopped himself – admitting the crime of how he’d lured Upchurch into the shop, killed her and made off with her handbag.

The story went to the police, but he bottled it when he went to trial – and in the absence of any hard evidence plus a retracted statement, there was nothing more to go on.

Money talks

What was in for him? Money, that’s what. He was hoping to get a nice payout from the paper for an exclusive. At least, that’s how it came across in court, so he was let off.

A couple of years later and he was back in custody, this time for going AWOL while in the Royal Air Force. The fiendish felon used the opportunity to confess to another random killing – this time a widow in Clapham, by the name of Beatrice Vilna Sutton. But this time he really did stitch himself up, because he let out secrets that only the killer could have known. They had him by the short and curlies now and a guilty verdict was a fait accompli.

He was sentenced to death and it was carried out at Wandsworth Prison on this day in 1936, when he was 32 years old.


SEX: M RACE: W TYPE: T MOTIVE: PC-non-specific

MO: Strangled women in their homes "because I wanted to murder someone"


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