Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Murder of Maureen Cosgrove

A Missing Handbag

DCI McFarlane and his murder squad detectives made a public appeal for any information about Maureen Cosgrove's murder, and asked for the public's help in locating her elusive handbag. He described it as dark navy blue or black with a long shoulder strap, a large flap over the front with which to close it, and rounded corners.

"I am not saying that it was stolen or that it is missing, just that we have been unable to locate it," McFarlane said. "She regularly carried it and we can't find it at the moment. I ask members of the public that live in Carshalton area to have a look in their garden and see if any handbags have been disposed of there."

As a result of the appeals for the public to come forward with information, the murder squad detectives were able to piece together Maureen's movements on the day she was murdered. In addition to confirming details of her dental appointment, the cops learned that she had donated clothing items to St. Raphael's charity shop just prior to having been seen arriving at her home at 11:20 a.m. No information, however, was received about her missing handbag.

On Monday, March 30, 2009, investigators found the driver of the dark-colored estate car parked in Maureen's neighborhood at or near the time of her death and quickly eliminated him from further investigation.

In the hours that followed, investigators developed information indicating that Maureen may have had a chance meeting with an old friend at some point between leaving her dentist's office and arriving at her home. They did not know the identity of the "old friend," and unfortunately were unable to develop the lead any further despite additional pleas for the public's help. They declined to comment on how the lead had been developed initially.

The police never recovered Maureen's handbag, but continued to discount the theory that it might have been taken during a burglary.

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