What Led a 91-Year-Old to Confess to a 1946 Murder

Canadian man allegedly said he shot Margaret Cook dead
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 17, 2015 3:22 PM CDT
A stock photo of an elderly gentleman. Not a confessed murderer, we imagine.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Margaret Cook, age 26, was shot dead outside a nightclub in London's Soho. A man has confessed to the crime. What makes this story unusual are the years involved: that murder happened on Nov. 10, 1946. The confession came nearly 70 years later. The UK's Sun initially reported on the unnamed man, now 91, describing him as living in Ontario, Canada, since 1951. A skin cancer diagnosis two years ago reportedly led to some soul searching, and he allegedly told local police that he had killed a prostitute whose name he did not know. The confession worked its way to British authorities, who synced the timing and details with Cook's cold-case file. Scotland Yard detectives reportedly interviewed him in the long-term care home where he resides; he is said to have picked out Cook's image from a dozen pictures displayed to him.

The National Post reports that Cook's death was one of a quartet of murders that fueled fear of a "Soho Jack," a name that gives a nod to Jack the Ripper. The reality, per the alleged confessor, is that he committed only that one murder, shooting Cook in the chest with a Russian-made WWII pistol after she "cheated him out of money and was rude to him when he complained," as the Sun has it. A source told the tabloid the man was looking to "clear his conscience" before death. That source, along with all the Sun's sources, are unnamed, reports the Post. That newspaper was unable to confirm the UK's alleged request for extradition—which it notes the Sun reported "in detail," even giving the name of the UK official who allegedly signed off on it—with the Canadian official it spoke with. (There's a new arrest in a 40-year-old high-profile US cold case.)

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