Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The UK Hammer Murders


Marsha McDonnell
Marsha McDonnell
Marsha Louise McDonnell, 19, was a beautiful and dynamic young woman with a passion for art and music. She was also a successful student who had accomplished the advanced level (A-level) educational requirements necessary for her to gain entry into a university. Marsha had the promise of a good life ahead of her. Then, one cold winters evening, that promise was savagely taken from her.

On February 3, 2003, Marsha and two of her friends went to see the movie Catch Me If You Can and afterwards headed towards the bus depot to catch different buses home. Marsha caught the number 111 bus from Kingston and traveled the 10-mile route towards Hampton in southwest London. Shortly before midnight, she got off the bus at Percy Road and walked toward her house located several streets away on Priory Road. However, just yards from her doorstep, she was brutally assaulted.

Shortly after 12 a.m., a neighbor was awoken by loud noises and ventured outside to see where they came from, according to BBC News. The woman found Marsha sprawled on the pavement in a pool of blood, slipping into unconsciousness from severe head injuries. She was immediately taken to the hospital for treatment.

Marshas two heartbroken sisters and parents surrounded her as she lay in her hospital bed fighting for her life. However, there was little chance of her ever recovering from her life-threatening injuries. Her family made the sad decision to turn off the life support machine. On February 5, Marsha passed away.

According to the report, Marshas grief-stricken parents had to explain to their 5-year-old son Jack what had happened to his big sister. The nightmare was incomprehensible not only to the little boy, but also to everyone who knew Marsha. What kind of person would do such a horrible thing?

Nathalie McDonnell
Nathalie McDonnell
An autopsy later determined that Marsha died from head wounds possibly inflicted by a hammer or a similar type of blunt instrument. That there was no evidence of sexual molestation was also established. Approximately a week later, Marshas sister Nathalie, 21, made a public appeal for anyone with information concerning her sisters murder to come forward. Her pleas were met with a surprising response.

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