Can you solve 165 year old cold murder case in the Norwich Guildhall?

Pip and Alasdair Willett who are behind the new history mystery game at the Guildhall in Norwich.

Pip and Alasdair Willett who are behind the new history mystery game at the Guildhall in Norwich. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY


One hour to unravel the mystery of one of the most macabre murders in the history of the city which eluded police for more than 18 years.

That is the concept behind a new challenge which lurks within the cell blocks of the Guildhall, where the body of the victim still lies buried.

Exactly 165 years since an ordinary housewife was discovered mutilated and strewn around the streets of Norwich, the cold case returns to the former police station and courthouse to test the public’s detective skills.

It is the first time history has come to life in escape gaming, bringing the heritage of sites in our city back to life.

At the time the grim discoveries sparked a public outcry, with some pointing the finger at medical students playing pranks.

But eventually the murderer blurted a confession to a startled constable in London, where he had been hiding from his crime, and was brought to justice.

Alasdair Willett, managing director of Captivate Heritage, said the ingrained history of Norwich made the concept perfect for the city.

“I grew up in Norwich and it just made sense to start here, you can’t walk around the city without bumping into a piece of history,” he said.

The company have been running a scheme encompassing the history of Norwich over the years since February upstairs at the Guildhall, and have now unlocked the cells which lie in the crypt of the medieval police station and courthouse.

“It is an intriguing story, and this is about unravelling the clues for yourselves,” said Mr Willett.

“We have court records which are very specific and the case is particularly notable. Body parts being discovered around the city captured the interest and the case lay unsolved until the murderer could not live with his guilt any more and handed himself in. Throughout all that time the poor victim lay here in the Guildhall. She was interred in the cell block while the case went cold.

“The story opens with the first clue; which is the first body part being found. From there you work together to find out who the victim is and ultimately, who the murderer is. Every fact that we use is real, but it is not about the knowledge of the case but about how you use that information to solve the case. A lot of the clues are there but they are hidden in plain sight.

“The people involved were quite unremarkable which makes this even more shocking. It is very important to us to tell the historical story so people come away knowing what happened here. We work very hard to make sure the focus is on the victim. We are careful not to glorify the murderer, and it is the victim we are remembering here.”

To find out more visit or go to the Guildhall

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