Flashback: Carnival queen, hunt for a killer and a concerned community

PUBLISHED: 12:00 30 April 2017

40-years-ago Picture: Romford Library

40-years-ago Picture: Romford Library

Romford Library

A look back at the biggest local stories from this day 20, 40 and 60 years ago.


Part-time shoe shop assistant Olive Tatum was chosen from 17 competitors to be Romford’s Carnival Queen.

The 19-year-old, of Priests Avenue, Romford, worked in Upminster.

She had been married nine months.

For the first time three maids of honour were selected. They were Jacqueline Sell, 21, a city typist, Barbara Hughes, 21, a shorthand typist and Gladys Wade, 18, a salesgirl.

Both Jacqueline and Barbara had been maids of honour before.

Sharing her regal powers on Carnival Day was going to be the beauty queen of Colombes whose visit to Romford was jointly sponsored by the Romford Recorder and the Romford 1957 carnival committee.


In a desperate attempt for a breakthrough in the hunt for the vicious killer of Coral Vidler, a dramatic reconstruction of her final walk was going to be aired on television.

Murder Squad detectives issued descriptions of two men seen in Hornchurch shortly after she was savagely attacked.

Det Ch Supt Michael Richards, leading the manhunt, wanted to speak to the two men to eliminate them from police inquiries.

Officers reconstructed the scene while cameras from TV show Police 5 followed a model, Jackie McDonald, in the walk down an alleyway where Coral was murdered. The Police 5 programme, presented by Shaw Taylor, was going to be screened by London Weekend.

Coral was on her way home from the Thresholders’ Youth Club disco, North Street, Hornchurch.

Her boyfriend, Kevin Broad, kissed her good night at the bus stop in Hacton Lane before she was attacked.

The cameras would show the hole in a garden fence where police believed her body was pushed through after leaving a trail of blood.


A convicted paedophile whose release into the Collier Row community caused outrage and concern, was sent back to prison.

The 61-year-old sex offender, who was released early from jail in March, had his prison licence revoked.

A Romford spokesman said: “As a result of the co-operation of multi-agencies – the police, social services and prison office – the paedophile’s prison licence was revoked by the Home Office. “He didn’t actually commit an offence but we were not happy with his behaviour and told social services we did not want him to be out of prison. He is a dangerous man – we were so unhappy that the kind of pressure we put on the prison office went as far as us saying we didn’t want to be held responsible for him if they let him out.”

Neighbours in the street where the man was living said they were “relieved” yet “horrified” to learn he was right on their doorstep.

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