Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Murder of Maureen Cosgrove

Detective Chief Inspectors

Unable to revive her mother, Lucy called for help. Paramedics were dispatched to the home from London Ambulance Service, arriving on the scene at 2:20 p.m. Tearful and still reeling from the grotesque discovery, she explained how she had found her mother's lifeless body. Paramedics quickly determined that Maureen Cosgrove was quite dead and, concluding that foul play was possibly involved, summoned the police to the residence.

Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Tim Grattan-Cane was among the first of the police to arrive, and he instructed murder squad officers to cordon off the home as a crime scene. Grattan-Cane was accompanied by DCI John McFarlane of the Metropolitan Police Homicide and Serious Crime Command. Finding no indication of a burglary, they began piecing together the victim's movements.

Maureen Cosgrove
Maureen Cosgrove
"I need to build a picture of what Mrs. Cosgrove was doing...before she was killedwho she saw, who she spoke to, any information at all," McFarlane said during an appeal to the public for information. "I know she was at a dental appointment in Banstead Road, Carshalton, until 10:07 a.m., and a neighbor saw Mrs. Cosgrove arriving home at 11:20 a.m. in her silver Peugeot estate car."

From the outset, McFarlane and Grattan-Cane were particularly interested in speaking to the driver of a dark-colored estate car, possibly a Volvo, which had been seen by neighbors parked on the street near the Cosgrove house between 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

"We need to trace the driver of this vehicle who may have vital information," McFarlane said. "At the very least, it will allow us to eliminate the car from our inquiry."

An autopsy conducted later at the St. Helier Hospital mortuary listed Maureen's cause of death as asphyxia, and the evidence, particularly the injuries on her neck, showed that she had been strangled. A forensic pathologist said that she had been "throttled," and that her killer had used a ligature to strangle her, a theory with which the police were in full agreement.

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