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Search for relatives of a Derry woman who was killed in 1954


Emma Matthews

Emma Matthews

Emma Matthews

The family of a Londonderry woman who was murdered in London in 1954 are appealing for help in finding any living relatives.

Shirt factory worker Ellen Carlin left Derry at the age of just 20 in 1946 to seek a better life in England.

However, things didn't go as planned and after falling on hard times Ellen was working as a prostitute when she was murdered on September 6, 1954.

The 28-year-old was found dead at a flat in the Pimlico area of the city, strangled with a stocking. Her killing made front page news in the English capital.

No charges have ever been brought in connection with her death. However, serial killer Peter Manuel is alleged to have confessed before his 1958 execution.

Reports at the time said police suspected the involvement of an American serviceman in the murder.

Ellen left behind a two-year-old son, Daniel. He was subsequently adopted by an English family who changed his name to Martin Matthews.

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Martin only discovered his true parentage after a deathbed confession from his adopted mother.

He began to examine his background, but made little progress before his own death in 2005. But now Martin's family have picked up the mantle, with his daughter Emma Matthews and stepdaughter Lisa Dear hoping to track down any surviving relatives.


A headline from the time

A headline from the time

A headline from the time

Ellen's inquest recorded she was the daughter of James Carlin and the late Mrs Carlin from Rossville Street in Derry.

While the family are unsure how many siblings Ellen had, her sister Sylvia McGill and brother James Carlin also moved to England. Lisa told the Belfast Telegraph that the family were desperate to hear from anyone in Northern Ireland with information about Ellen.

"We're just trying to find out if there's any family left, I've been on all the family tree websites but just cannot find any more information, it's just such a sad story" she said.

The family are particularly keen to find a photo of Ellen.

"We'd love to know what she looked like, we had heard that one appeared on the front page of the News of The World at the time so I'm planning to visit the newspaper archives when they reopen," Lisa explained.

Ellen's granddaughter Emma said the family wanted to find out more about their Northern Ireland links.

"We realised how little we really did know with regard to his background and our background, where did we come from, who are we connected to," she said in a online appeal.

Anyone with any information about Ellen can contact newseditor@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

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