Historical Murders presented by Paul Stickler


Green Bicycle Murder

aka the killing of Bella Wright

5 July 1919

Headshot for the Green Bicycle Murder
Headshot for the Green Bicycle Murder

Around 6.30pm, on 5 July 1919, 21-year-old Bella Wright left her home in the quiet village of Stoughton just to the east of Leicester.

She intended to cycle a journey of just over 4 miles to the village of Ga(u)lby to see her uncle and his family. Bella arrived at her uncle’s house around 7.45pm and went inside to see the family. While inside, her uncle, George Measures, went outside and saw a man cycle past on a green bicycle paying obvious attention to his house. He thought no more of it until 9pm when Bella left the house as she did not want to cycle home in the dark. She developed a problem with her bicycle and a family member spent a short time repairing it. As he was doing so, the same man on the green bicycle pulled up and spoke to the family gathered outside. Despite ostensibly not knowing this man, she cycled away from the house in company with him much to the amazement of the family. Fifteen minutes later, she was found dead a short distance from the village; she had received a single bullet wound to the head.

“He saw the woman’s bloodied face and a pool of blood extending from underneath her hat”

Despite exhaustive enquiries by the local police and Scotland Yard, no suspect was identified.

However, in February 1920, a green bicycle frame was recovered from the nearby Leicester canal. A further trawl by the police recovered the rest of the bicycle together with a revolver holster and some .45 calibre ammunition. The bicycle was traced to Ronald Light, a schoolteacher in Cheltenham. Light was picked out on a series of identification parades by witnesses who saw the man with Bella on the day she met her death. Light was charged with the murder and admitted being the man last seen with Bella only minutes before she met her death. He also admitted disposing of the bicycle and the ammunition in the canal but was acquitted by the jury. Fresh information emerged after the trial but the case today remains unsolved.

The victim...
Annie Bella Wright

Annie Bella Wright (known as Bella) was 21 years old at the time of her death. She was described as an attractive and happy woman and lived with her parents Kenus and Mary in the village of Stoughton a few miles from where she was found shot dead. She had a younger brother called Philip; other siblings had unfortunately already died by the time of Bella’s death. All came from a farming community. She had a boyfriend at the time of her death but who was away at sea with the navy at the time. She had originally worked in domestic service though more recently she had worked at a rubber factory. She is buried in Stoughton churchyard where her grave is tended by some of her descendants.

Another pile of photos from The Green Bicycle Murder
  • Did the calibre of the bullet wound to Bella’s head match that of a .45 calibre weapon?

    We cannot be sure of this due to a lack of detailed information, but everything indicates that it was a smaller calibre which had been used to fire the fatal shot.

  • How did the police trace the bicycle to Ronald Light?

    Amazingly, despite a serial number having been erased from the frame, anther was found on the handlebar stem. This was traced to a shop in Derby who were able to say they had sold the bicycle to Light.

  • Where exactly did Bella meet her death?

    By a gate on Gartree Road close to the village of Little Stretton.

  • Did the attack have a sexual motive?

    Nothing is obvious that sex was a motive in the attack. She had not been ‘outraged’ as it was described at the time. This, of course, does not mean that a sexual motive can be completely ruled out.

  • What ever became of Ronald Light?

    It appears he later married, changed his name and moved to Kent.

Further reading...
Cover of The Green Bicycle Mystery

The Green Bicycle Mystery

Antony M Brown



The Green Bicycle Murder case is available as a presentation. Whether delivered on world-wide cruise ships or in a local village hall, it's absorbing, informative, and entertaining. Contact Paul Stickler for more information...

Paul Stickler presenting on stage on a cruise ship