17th January 1990: The Murder Of 92 Year Old Doris Kellett, West Yorkshire, UK

92 year old Doris Kellett who was murdered on 17th January 1990 in Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire, England.

Just yesterday was the 32nd anniversary of the murder of a defenceless elderly lady called Doris Kellett. Ms Kellett was bludgeoned to death some time around 6 pm on Wednesday 17th January 1990. She is said to have been a mobile and independent living lady who had enjoyed a full day of socialising, including a lunch, at a local Methodist Church.

Cleckheaton is an old northern industrial town south of Bradford, West Yorkshire.

One report mentions that she was seen talking to a couple of men on her doorstep in Wesley Street. One of them was carrying a clipboard. A carer was scheduled to visit Ms Kellett and she found her on the floor of her home and a large amount of blood was splattered around. A cloth had been placed over her.

An original image shows a police officer guarding the door just after the gap on your right. I won’t put up the number as it doesn’t seem fair to the current occupier as it might get picked up by a search engine.

The offenders may well have been the ones seen talking to her, in fact as they have not been identified it is highly likely. The only description I can find is that they were casually dressed.

It was said that Ms Kellett’s home was only 20 yards ( about the same in metres) from a police station. It said it was on the other side of the road. As you can see in the modern images from Google there is a park there now. Over all the years and all the countries I can think of there have been similar offences near cop shops but not many.

Given the time of day it would have been dark but if the police station was nearby it is unlikely these two knocked on doors randomly. Check my logic please.

Police stations have coppers going in and out of them all day and all night. These days many politicians are happily ignorant about the effect this has on crime in a local area. They will, as they did in a town near me, declare that a station is fully operational when they move the cell complex or the uniform patrol to another area.

The reality is as soon as the cell facilities move then less officers drift through nearby streets. As soon as officers start and finish their shift in another station the old neighbourhood suffers. In other words, in 1990, one of the last places criminals would want to hang about was so near a police station in Wesley Street.

If a small police station was nearly opposite Ms Kellett’s house knocking door to door looking for elderly victim’s would be daft. The idea is that the clipboard indicated that they may have been pretending to be from a utilities company or similar to get inside the house.

If these two used that ruse to get inside Ms Kellett’s home they had likely targeted her exclusively. Also I suggest they had a powerful motive for attempting it. I wonder if the rumour locally was that she had hidden treasures.

It would only take one copper looking out for the window as he slurped tea to have had these guys logged in a memory and if they were local criminals identified.

The amount of blood that must have been on them would have been noticeable close up though it was dark and may have been raining. All the same they took a chance for sure.

Often the victim would let conmen into the home and then one of the offenders distracts them with some nonsense to do with leaking gas or a potential plumbing issue. The other slopes off to search for valuable items. If that was the case the sprightly Ms Kellett may have figured them out. The violence could then have been a direct result of a nearby police station. Her screaming would have posed a big issue for them.

I looked around the parallel street at the rear. I could not see an alleyway, but there is a gap in the houses which has lower garages. Also at the side of Ms Kellett’s home is a long standing access for a vehicle. In the dark an exit over the rear could have been achieved without much notice being taken of them.

The crime scene would have been on your right (red brick) as you look from the street at the back.

I’ll leave you with a picture of Doris Kellett.

92 year old Doris Kellett who was murdered on 17th January 1990 in Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire, England.

Her last moments would have been harrowing and what sort of ‘men’ or women for that matter would have done that? To have been born in the last years of the 19th century and gone through the two World Wars to end up in the hands of creatures like those! It makes you wish you had a time machine and could jump in just at the right moment doesn’t it?


Best Thoughts

John T


Ms Kellett’s murder is only mentioned online in a few scant appeals over the years. The West Yorkshire Police, who patrol the area around her home, do not have cold case mentions on their website. The local paper now hides the article about her death behind a subscriber wall. As we cover stories internationally it is not practical for us to sign up for every regional newspaper.

It is a shame that the murder of an elderly woman is hidden in that way. Out there could be a witness who had wondered if what they saw is relevant and it bugs them for years. If both the cops and the paper effectively have no updates they can access, maybe that information will die with the witness. Also let us be honest the details for any news story like that have come largely from the police, a publicly funded source.    

I have cobbled together what detail I can about this vicious crime. The details about her day came from a website called Unsolved Murders. This has a lot of cases indexed and seems to concentrate on UK crime. 

The rest of the detail comes from small local news items and my own look at crime I have known and the use of Google maps. I’m not mentioning the news source online because frankly what is the point? You probably can’t access it either.

We will always link through to any source that you can access though.