On Wednesday 14 February 1945, the body of Charles Walton was discovered on the lower slopes of Meon Hill near the sleepy Warwickshire village of Lower Quinton, his torso pinned to the ground by a pitchfork. Myths and rumours soon swirled about the crime. Accounts claim Walton, a retired labourer and a lifelong resident of Lower Quinton, was believed by many to be a clairvoyant who could talk to birds and exercise control over animals. It has even been reported that many villagers attributed Walton’s death to ritual witchcraft. But what is fact and what is fiction?
The most famous police officer in Britain, Chief Inspector Robert Fabian, was promptly dispatched by Scotland Yard to solve this increasingly peculiar and foreboding mystery. ‘Fabian of the Yard’ was not a man prone to superstition and had dealt with some of the most notorious killers of his time – but there was something strange about the Walton murder. Did the clues point to ritual witchcraft as the modus operandi, or was the black magic angle merely a ruse? With the villagers unable – or unwilling – to shed light on the matter, Fabian faced, for the only time in his glittering career, the daunting prospect of failure. The Case That Foiled Fabian lays out for the first time what actually happened and distills the truth from the many myths about this case that are today mistaken for facts.