It was a sunny Sunday morning in May 1957 in the sleepy rural town of Hexham in the northern English county of Northumberland when three children were on their way to church. Then, out of the blue, the worst tragedy imaginable struck. A car lost control and mounted the sidewalk, killing all three of the youngsters. Two of the children were sisters, and it’s what happened after their deaths that makes this tale undeniably intriguing.
The two sisters were Joanna and Jacqueline Pollock. Joanna was 11 years old, and her sister was just six when they died. Along with their friend, Anthony Layden, aged nine, they’d been on their way to St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church. As it was less than a half-mile from where the Pollock girls lived on Leazes Terrace, their parents had been happy to let them walk alone.
The car that hit the three killed the two girls instantly, while Anthony died shortly afterwards as an ambulance rushed him to hospital. The driver of the car was 51-year-old Marjorie Wynn. She was a widow whose late husband had been in the Royal Air Force.