The Green Bicycle Mystery. Part Two: The Helpful Stranger


In the previous “Green Bicycle Mystery” article, we looked into the life of Bella Wright. A friendly young woman who is the oldest daughter of a farmhand.

She relies heavily on her bicycle as she lives in the small village of Stoughton in Leicestershire. Bella has to commute over five miles to work and back at a factory in the city.

Running errands.

According to Bella’s mother, Mary Ann, Bella wakes up around 14:30 as she was working the late shift at work and didn’t get home till late the evening before. Saturday the 5th was her day off.

Bella is planning on writing a few letters to friends, including one to her boyfriend, Archie Ward. Archie is away in Portsmouth, serving in the Royal Navy.

Mary Ann reminds Bella that her cousin had come to visit and is staying at her Uncle George’s cottage in the neighbouring village of Gaulby. Bella plans to visit her uncle, cousin, his wife and their newborn baby after posting her letters.

Bella’s cousin-in-law Jim Evans and uncle George Measures.

This is the last time Bella will speak to her mother.

Bella sets off on her bike towards the local post office in Evington village. She luckily meets the local postmistress, Kathleen Powers, bicycling the opposite way who kindly offers to post Bella’s letters for her. Bella hands over her letters and the money to cover the costs of postage.

Before setting off towards her uncle’s cottage, Bella returns home to pick up a raincoat due to a slight change in the weather. She leaves her home and heads towards Gaulby.

Broken down.

On her way to Gaulby, Bella’s rear-wheel develops a problem and she stops.

Whilst taking a look at her bicycle a man also cycling stops to help Bella. This man is Ronald Light.

In court, Ronald said that Bella flags him down and asks if he has a spanner. He wasn’t carrying any tools but had a look at the bicycle and fixed it the best he could.

According to Ronald, He offers to escort Bella to Gaulby. It is not known if she accepts this offer or if he simply decides to do it anyway. Regardless, there were several individual testimonies that confirm them cycling next to each other at this time.

Uncle George’s cottage.

After approximately 15 minutes of cycling together, Bella and Ronald arrive at her uncle George’s cottage.

Bella’s Uncle, George Measures, was a gruff looking man who had a wooden leg. He was a road worker by trade.

Whilst taking delivery of groceries, George notices a man on a unique pea-green bicycle wearing a grey flat cap waiting outside his house. He had a raincoat folded over the handlebars. He questions the grocer who explains to George that he saw the man riding with Bella into the village and assumed they were together.

Somewhat unamused that his niece appeared to be keeping company with young men whilst her boyfriend was away at sea, he asked Bella about the man upon his return to the lounge.

Bella assured her uncle that she didn’t know him at all, though she had met him cycling on the road to Gaulby and after he had asked directions to a village she didn’t know, the pair had exchanged polite conversation whilst riding together for a time. He had told her he was from Great Glen. George begrudgingly accepted the story.

In court, George claimed the man used Bella’s name and her cousin Agnes said the pair seemed familiar.

Bella doesn’t seem to be concerned at all. She says to her family that she “shall try and give him the slip” if he is still waiting there when she leaves.

Ronald claimed that he waited for Bella as she said she would “only be ten minutes “.

After around an hour and a half, Bella leaves her uncles cottage. Bella and her family head outside to say their goodbyes. It would seem that Ronald has left the area. He returns a few minutes later.

Ronald is overheard saying “Bella, you have been a long time. I thought you have gone the other way”. At trial, it is of great interest if he calls her by her name or not.

Ronald Light.

The man was around 5’6” tall with short brown hair flecked with grey. He was dressed in a shabby grey suit, shirt, tie, black boots and carried his raincoat slung over his handlebars. He spoke in a high pitched, squeaky voice with a slight cockney accent.

Bella’s cousin Jim stepped out into the street to speak with the man. He asked about his bike, a BSA. Jim also had a BSA, though he’d never seen one with such an unusual colour.

The bike was a special order, The man told Jim, it had been painted Pea-Green. As the two spoke, Agnes took Bella aside and asked her again if she was quite sure she didn’t know the man.

They seemed to speak with a degree of familiarity, she felt, but Bella assured her she was telling the truth and had only known him by riding with him along the road for a short time to Gaulby.

At 20:45, Bella finally waved goodbye to her family and began pushing her bike up the street back towards the church. As she walked away from the house, the stranger joined her in pushing his bike back up the hill in the same direction.

They appeared to chat as they both mounted their bicycles and rode out of sight and out of the village.

Bella and Ronald leave Gaulby together.

Parting ways.

According to Ronald Wright, himself and Bella go there sperate ways when they reach the junction beyond Kings Norton. He heads back towards Leicester via Gaulby Lane and whilst Bella continues to Burton Overy Lane.

Bella chooses to go a longer route back home, this may be due to her broken bicycle. The shortest route was rather steep so maybe Bella chooses the longer route due it being flat.

The body in the road.

35 minutes after Bella was last seen alive by her family, Joseph Cowell, a local farmer finds her body on the road.

View part three of the case, “Who was Ronald Light”, here.

You can view all the “The Green Bicycle Mystery” articles and the map of all locations mentioned by clicking here.

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Article Sources: DMU exhibition, The Green Bicycle Mystery by Antony M. Brown

If you are interested in the “Green Bicycle Mystery” then we recommend the following book (Click on the images or links below)

The Green Bicycle Mystery (Cold Case Jury Collection 1)

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Thomas is fascinated by the city's long and varied history. He also hates to discuss himself in the third person but can be persuaded to do so from time to time.


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