These Peterborough murder victims’ stories have been lost to time
Local author’s 20th book looks at four true crime stories of the 1970s
This is the first of five Examiner exclusive excerpts from Ed Arnold’s 20th non-fiction book, “Peterborough 1970s Crimes.” Today: Introduction/Tears Without Crying.
There are four stories in this book about major Peterborough crimes in the early 1970s; all include information never before seen by the public. They are the stories of four innocent people.
Nora Wheeler was 87 years old, harmless, when somebody decided to kill her.
Lisa Golding was only 22, carefree, gorgeous, but in a troubled relationship while living in an apartment on Clonsilla Avenue when she disappeared forever.
Murray Green was a well-known community man with a wife and three children trying to make a living running a downtown hotel, happy to live in a wonderful, peaceful community like Peterborough, when he was murdered.
Const. Dave Dawson was a good, honest, hard-working policeman who did his job well, kept his nose out of office politics. He wanted to work the streets to help and protect the public, then someone decided to shoot him not once, not twice, but three times, obviously attempting to end his life.
In the 1970s few spoke for the victims of such crimes. There were no victim impact statements, media coverage was about the accused, as were the trials, punishment and treatment.
A daughter spoke for Nora Wheeler at the time, but today there is nobody to keep the case alive other than hardworking police who want to put closure to it. For 45 years they have not been able to and won’t tell the public much about their investigations.
Nobody spoke publicly for Lisa Golding. The coverage and court case made it seem as though her death was her fault when nothing could be further from the truth. Even today it is difficult to find someone to speak for her.
Who spoke for the families of Murray Green and Dave Dawson? The police who investigated the cases? The Crown attorney who prosecuted the cases? The judges and juries who heard the cases? Maybe, but the victims became ghosts at the trials, only names in media coverage.
This book hopefully gives a voice to the victims. It is them, and their families, that it is dedicated to. Only the guilty parties know the answer to why they chose to destroy the lives of innocent people. It is the guilty people who live with their consciences and ask ... why?
The victim’s families are left asking ... what if?
These are four stories that interested me as I began my 40-year journalism journey with The Peterborough Examiner in the early 1970s. I wasn’t assigned to any of them, but was curious in knowing more than what our busy daily newspaper could or did supply about them.
The pursuit of information in these stories has been an uphill battle with so called public archives kept private even with several Freedom of Information requests filed. Other files have been destroyed over time or are missing. Some records are gone and people do not want to talk, while media reports only touched the fringe of cases. In the case of Nora Wheeler, police are not willing to reveal anything about a 45-year old murder because it “is still active.”
Worst of all, the pursuit was difficult because the people who know their stories better than anyone have died. There were documents if you searched hard enough, newspaper articles, transcripts, police reports, and the memories of people that helped put us behind the scenes of the crimes to make sure the victims are remembered.
I hope I did justice to the victims and helped better record what really happened in these terrible moments of our community’s history.
Tears Without Crying
Woke up this morning, you weren’t beside me
No fish in the ocean,
No sun in the sky
Having my coffee, you weren’t there singing
No birds in a meadow,
No grass on the lawn
Got home this evening, you weren’t there waiting
No bees on the flowers
No smell to the air
Moved on our mattress, no body near me
Sound without music
Skies without stars
Are you missing me
Like I’m missing you
Doing together those things that we do Are you missing me,
Like I’m missing you
Doing together those things that we do Thunder without lightning
Tears without crying
Kids without laughter
And me without you
Woke up this morning, you weren’t beside me,
And I’m longing for you
Woke up this morning, no smell of your body
…a one without two
Copyright Ed Arnold. The $25 book is available at The Peterborough Examiner office on Hunter Street East, Trent Valley Archives on Carnegie Avenue, Happenstance Books in Lakefield or for local readers at [email protected]
Local author Ed Arnold, left, signs copies of his 20th book, “Peterborough 1970s Crimes,” for Geoff Hewitson and Charlotte Juriga on Oct. 29 at The Social.