David Attenborough's Garden Skull Mystery Solved

Jul 6, 2011, 16:22 by Sarah Long

A skull found in the back garden of naturalist David Attenborough's London home has been found to be that of a widow killed in 1879, experts said Tuesday.

Coroner Alison Thompson determined the skull is that of Julia Martha Thomas and that the cause of death was asphyxiation and blows to the head, The Independent reported. Thompson's ruling came more than a century after an earlier inquest determined Thomas was killed by her servant, Kate Webster, who was hanged for the crime.

Workers building an extension on Attenborough's home in Richmond, an elegant area up the Thames from central London, found the skull in October. Attenborough, who has been knighted for his achievements, is known in both Britain and the United States for his TV programs and books.

Police in 1879 said Webster knocked her employer downstairs after Thomas returned from church and found her drunk. She then strangled Thomas and cut up the body, cooking parts of it.

A box full of human remains was found floating in the Thames, but the head did not turn up.

Source: UPI