Our story starts at 4pm on the 11th June 1980 in the quaint market town of Todmorden in the North of England, nestled among the three Pennine Valleys on the Lancashire & Yorkshire border.
It was a damp and cold Wednesday evening shift when PC Alan Godfrey was called up on his police radio and sent to attend the coal yard of Todmorden railway station. They had a report from the ambulance station that there was a body there. The initial call to the ambulance had come from the owner of the yard who had found the body on his return to work at 3.45pm.
Alan was on foot patrol so made his way over to the station. He was picked up on the way by his colleague PC Malcolm Agley and they made their way together to the coal yard arriving there at 4.10pm. They were met by Trevor Parker who had made the discovery.
The was a huge pile of coal in the yard and atop this was the body. One of the ambulance crew stated “It’s up on the top. I think there’s something now't quite right about it. I think you have a murder.”
There were wooden sleepers that retained the coal in a pile 15ft high. PC Agley went up first using the sleepers to climb. He soon came back down and suggested Alan went and looked for himself. Alan made his way up and was confronted by a male in his fifties and the look on his face in death was of fear and pain. The eyes were open and staring into the sky, his mouth slightly open so you could see his teeth. His hair had been cut very short into a crew cut, but it was not neat, it looked like it had been done unprofessionally.
On the rear of his skull it looked like there were several small burn marks, similar in shape and size. Alan carefully moved his head over to one side to examine for injury and located at the base of his skull was a large weeping wound approx. two inches in length and about one and a half inches across. There was some sort of substance smeared over the opening of the injury.
The mans arms were resting on his stomach area but not folded as though he was just taking a Sunday nap. The man had a jacket on but no shirt just a white string vest. There was no coal dust on the man at all, it was like the body had been placed there.
Alan felt the body had been dressed hurriedly after death, he said he felt uneasy and already ill at ease with the case. He discussed it with PC Agley and decided it was sus and called in CID and SOCO.
View of where coal was located
They secured the scene and it was raining heavily. When the Dr arrived to declare death even he stated the victim looked like he had been scared to death.
They were taking this suspicious death seriously and were beginning to think that it was a possible murder though this was the dump site as opposed to it being the murder scene.
There were no items of identification on the body and it was then taken to Hebden Bridge mortuary for a post mortem.
They searched the yard and could find no clues and there was nothing on the coal heap that would suggest that someone had climbed it.
The only thing that was found was a tire mark that the owner of the yard didn’t believe came from any of his vehicles. The coal heap was also new so the body hadn’t come with a delivery of coal.
The post mortem was carried out post haste at 9.15pm that day and the home office pathologist Dr Alan Edwards found that the male had died of Heart failure due to ischemic heart disease and emphysema.
Samples of the salve applied to the wound were taken but were never identified. The burn marks appeared to result from the skin coming into contact with some sort of acid. Alkali or other locally destructive liquid.
The time of death was put down as eight to ten hours prior to his examination, therefore about 11.15 am to 1.15pm which was 3 -4 hours prior to his discovery by Trevor Parker. Parker confirmed that he had been in the yard earlier and the body had not been there. The coal heap was in a place that he would not have missed it.
Once they had the result of the PM the investigation was soon scaled down as it appeared that he had died of apparent natural causes and routine enquiries were left to uniform police. The first step was to identify the victim.
After a lot of leg work (no computers) they finally identified the victim as Zigmund Jan Adamski. A week after finding the body they made the journey to Tingley near Wakefield. This is a journey of thirty eight miles and would take you fifty-seven mins if you went down the motorway and over an hour by back roads and an hour an twenty-four mins on the train.
When they got to the address a young man answered the door and sat in a wheelchair was Mrs Leokadia Adamski or ‘Lottie’ as she preferred to be known. They discussed the discovery and she agreed that a friend of the family would come and make the identification. The friend was called Chris and he filled them in with a lot of details as they made the journey back across the moors. He explained the Mr Adamski had gone missing on Friday 6th June at 3.30pm – exactly five days before he was found. As far as Chris knew Adamski had no friends nor knew anyone in Todmorden he was a shy person who kept to himself and was known to locals as Ziggy.He could think of no-one who would do him harm.
While Chris was identifying the body he made the comment that ‘Ziggy’ had longer and thicker hair. This followed Alan’s view that it had been crudely shorn recently. He also confirmed that he had not had the injuries on his head when he had last seen him.
They returned to Tingley and spoke at length with Mrs Adamski, she could think of no reason why he would have gone missing. He had been in good spirits the day he had disappeared and had been out for a shopping trip with his cousin who was over from Poland; Laska had been staying with them for the past two months and would be returning home soon.
He was due to be the best man at his God daughters wedding which was the day after he had gone missing and he had been looking forward to it and had written a speech. They had spent the next couple of days searching for him but never thinking to look in Todmorden as he had no connections with the place.
On the day he vanished Zygmund and his cousin Laska had returned from shopping in Leeds and they had all sat down to fish and chips and chatted happily over the next days wedding. He had seemed in a good mood and had not appeared worried over anything. He then said that he was going to the shop 100 yards away because they needed some potatoes. Laska offered to go with him but because the shop was so close he told her there was no need to bother.
Route from Adamski's Road to shop
. Though he had a heart condition he was generally well and Drs had told him that modest exercise was good for him. In fact he had been passed fit to carry out the strenuous work down the coal mine which if his heart had been a real problem he would not have been allowed if they believed it would have seriously compromised his health.
When he left the house to walk to the shop he did not take his car or house keys, just a wallet with about £20 inside. The family never saw him again and he was not located for five days.
View from top of Adamski's Road, looking down towards the shop
Both Ziggy and Lottie had been prisoners of war in Germany, after the liberation they left Germany and came to England and it was here in Leeds where they met and married in 1951. He had worked down the colliery for 27 years and he was well liked, often taking a pint at the local pub.
On the day he went missing one of his neighbours remebered seeing him and stated that he had asked him if he was heading off for a pint. Ziggy had replyed that it was too early for him and nothing in that short conversation had worried the neighbour.
This appeared to be the last conversation he had except for his purchase at the shop. The shopkeeper noted that he appeared chirpy and again had not believed anything was bothering him. The groceries he bought were never found.
Checks were made with local doctors surgeries and hospitals to see if any person matching the name and description of Ziggy had been admitted but nobody with even similar injuries could be found.
A few days after his inquiries, Alan was on foot patrol when he bumped into Peter Sutcliffe (Not the Yorkshire Ripper!) who was a Station Sub officer at the local fire station and part-time worker at the coal station. He stated that he had been at the coal yard that day between 1pm and 1.30 pm, this was several hours after Trevor Parker had last been there. He had gone to the yard looking for Trevor, and when he realised he wasn't there, he had gone down the White Hart Fold Inn to find him.
He confirmed that he had not seen a body on the coal heap when he had been in the yard. Parker confirmed that had met Sutcliffe down the pub at 1.30pm and they had stayed there for about two hours when Parker returned alone.
The post-mortem put Adamski’s death between 11.15am and 1.15pm which gives us a couple of scenario’s which could have happened.
1. Sutcliffe had missed seeing Adamski on the coal heap.
2. Adamski had wandered in after Sutcliffe had left, climbed the coal heap and died
3. Adamski had been killed somewhere else, and his body had been placed on the coal heap
The coal heap was also in view of the trains passing by and stopping at the station which would indicate that any passengers stood on the platform or looking out the window of a train could have seen the body, especially if it had been there for a couple of hours.
Alan took all this information back to CID who said he died of natural causes just let it be!
Having developed a good working relationship with Adamski’s wife, Alan felt he could not just leave it there, he thought she deserved answers. He submitted a report to the chief Superintendent and as you can imagine this went down well and he was told to leave well alone.
He bumped into Peter Sutcliffe again, and they discussed the case over a cup of tea, Sutcliffe stated that he had gone to the station to make a statement, and a ‘CID man from Halifax’ had come to take it and told him that he might have to go to coroners court.
In September of that year, PC Agley had come in and asked Alan if he had seen the local paper. It had been reported that James Turnball the coroner had concluded the inquest and recorded an ‘open verdict’ on the death of Zigmund Adamski.
Neither had been called as witnesses even though they were the first officers on scene and nor had Sutcliffe who was a crucial witness in the fact that he confirmed that Adamski’s body had not been there before 1.30 pm.
PC Agley had contacted the coroner's office and asked why he had not been contacted and was told that he had not been needed even though he was an officer in case reporting to the coroner.
The Courts Findings
The initial hearing was given over to Dr Alan Edwards, the pathologist, he reported many facts. Firstly that Adamski was clean and well cared for and did not appear to be sleeping rough during the missing five days. He only had one day's worth of beard growth seemingly had been eating during his disappearance but had not eaten the day he died. He had slight abrasions on his body but nothing suggesting that he had ever been severely assaulted. The death in his view had been caused by heart failure and underlying heart disease but agreed that this could have been caused by excessive exertion or fear or even stress of fending off an attack. The pathologist had also confirmed that there was no evidence of brain injury or stroke to suggest that he may have lost his memory.
The burn mark caused by a 'hot or corrosive liquid' and was the Dr said, likely two days old so probably happened mid-way through his disappearance. Lottie stated in court that she had thought her husband looked like he had been scared to death and that in her view "somebody took him and dumped him."
Chris, the family friend who had identified his body had also given evidence explaining how Adamski had tried to get early retirement from the pit due to the fact his wifes deteriorating disability and he wanted to serve as her full-time carer. He was still waiting for the coal boards decision and ironically had got it in the post while he was missing.
He confirmed that Ziggy had no connection with Todmorden and of his utter devotion to his wife.
Lottie had confirmed that her husband had left the house wearing a striped jacket and a sports shirt. He was wearing a watch, had his driving licence and money, these items were never found. He had never gone missing in the thirty years that she had known him.
The coroner had stated on that first inquest that he found the case 'intractable' and that they should 'not leave any stone unturned' while investigating the matter further. He added "whatever can be done will be done, I shall see to that."
He then adjourned proceedings leaving PC Agley sure that he would be called back to give evidence.
On the 4th September 1980, the second session was held DI Boyle of Sowerby Bridge was reporting on the CID investigation of which there was very little. Several eminent Drs had been consulted in regards to the injuries and concurred that it was likely caused by a corrosive liquid but could not say what it was or if it was self-administered, deliberate or accidental.
DI Boyle disagreed with Mrs Adamksi that the body had been dumped and stated he believed the man had died where he was found but he had no idea how he had got there. The contradiction of Sutcliffe's statement that he was present at the scene before the time of death was never presented to the coroner.
The final session was on the 25th September 1980 ans was given over to several friends and relatives but produced no real evidence of what had occurred. In conclusion, the coroner admitted complete frustration saying "At this stage, there is nothing else I can do" but that the case was "by no means closed" though no further evidence had come forward and the inquest found an open verdict, and it remains unresolved some 37 years later.
In 2008 John Hanson -Ex CID officer and author of Haunted Skies and David Sankey - a respected UFO researcher looked into the incident which you can read HERE
They came to the conclusion that Adamski had fallen out with a member of the family and had been kidnapped and had died of a heart-attack, which would mean his body had been dumped on the coal heap. Though the family clearly stated that they had no connection with Todmorden. I'm sure if one was disposing of a body you would be more inclined to do so on an empty moor rather than in the middle of a town!
In his book, Alan believes that Adamski was put there by someone and that he didn't arrive there under his own steam. And if the time of death is accurate, he did not die there either.
So how did this case come to be linked with Alien abduction?
A year after the inquest had ended a notable UFO researcher - Jenny Randles, wrote about the Adamski case. There had been a similar case -Travis Walton who had disappeared on November 5th, 1975 and had returned five days later claiming that he had been abducted, a film was made of his disappearance 'Fire in the sky.'
Jenny had also investigated on many UFO reports in and around Todmorden including one reported on the 10th June 1980 that had occurred in the centre of Todmorden just half a mile from where Adamski’s body had been found at midnight, just hours before the discovery of Adamski.
A young couple had reported hearing a strange noise over their house, ‘Like great water surges moving to and fro.’
Going outside they could see nothing causing the noise, but it just faded slowly into the distance until an ellipse of light appeared above their roof and glowed both green and red before seemingly climbing vertically and disappearing.
Helicopters had been working on power lines and had been mistaken for UFO’s, so they put it down to that, and it wasn’t pursued much further, but when the press reported that Adamski’s body had been found nearby, it looked more interesting. There was nothing to link these two incidents beyond coincidence but when Jenny put the Adamski case, the UFO report and then Alan’s later experience together and wrote a review published in a specialist UFO magazine called Flying saucer review.
A tabloid had picked it up and was trying to get Jenny to reveal who the police officer was, but she refused. Facts then got garbled, and a front-page story headed UFO DEATH RIDDLE purporting that UFO researcher deemed the Adamski case a close encounter of the third kind meaning that he had ‘met’ an alien.
And the rest is history, Adamski will always be linked with aliens even though there is no evidence though it is bloody sus.
Listen to the our podcast on the Adamski Death HERE
#UFO #Aliens #Paranormal #Alien Abduction #Murder #Kidnapping #Strange Disappearance #Ghosts
Jo has been interested in the supernatural since long conversations with her invisible twin friends. Ghosts or imagination? who knows but her insatiable thirst for the paranormal was born in those long forgotten conversations