General Category > Unusual Microcar Discussion

'Bubble Car Murders'

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Here's a riddle on a Sunday: What were the 'bubble car murders' about? I have searched the internet after someone at work showed me a reference, but I can't find it any more.

Rob Dobie:
I found this piece on

The year 1965  saw the conviction of the so-called Carbon Copy Murderer. The mystery had begun in 1960 with the discovery of the body of 60-year-old William Elliott in a quiet lane in Baslow. He had been violently assaulted.
As the hunt began for the brutal murderer, Mr Elliott’s bubble car was discovered in Chesterfield. The following year, the body of another man, George Stobbs, was found in the same Baslow lane. His car was also abandoned in the same street as the first victim.
Former soldier, Michael Copeland, was eventually identified as the prime suspect in both murders and in the murder of a German boy who had been found dead near Copeland’s Army barracks.
A trial at Birmingham saw Copeland convicted and sentenced to death but the abolition of the death penalty saw his sentence commuted to life imprisonment.

Does anyone know what make of bubblecar William Elliott owned?

Rusty Chrome (Malcolm Parker):
I found a bit more on another site, the murders were more generally referred to as the 'carbon Copy' murders as they were so similar, but only one involved a bubble car which was apparently dumped in Park Road Chesterfield.

--- Quote ---'Bubble-car Killings' in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, UK, during the 1960's
Regarding the bubble car murders, the killer was caught. His name is Michael Copeland and he lived in Chesterfield. He was a repressed homosexual who killed homosexuals. He met two of his victims in the Spread Eagle pub, went and killed them and then staged car crashes. He killed a man in Germany whilst on military service. He claimed to have killed the man because he saw him and the man's girlfriend having sex like he had seen his mother having sex many times before. He confessed to the crimes on numerous occasions but refused to make a formal confession. Eventually detectives determined they had enough evidence and charged him. He was sentenced to death but it was commuted to life imprisonment. I think he killed four in total. Three in Chesterfield. It may have been three victims, i forget and don't have my notes at hand.
Copeland was a self confessed psychopath but his conviction surprised a lot of people who knew him. They regarded him only as a petty crook and some still refuse to accept he carried out the murders, but his guilt is beyond doubt.
--- End quote ---

Here's a like to some newspaper reports about the case (no mention of the make of bubble car though),5093936&dq=william+arthur+elliott+bubble+car+murder&hl=en,4977011&dq=william+arthur+elliott+bubble+car+murder&hl=en

Not the only murder case involving a bubble car though!,3188408&dq=bubble-car+murder&hl=en

Jonathan Poll:
Woah, seeing the topic name, at first I thought it was about people killing the cars by leaving them in their garden, or microcar fans buying Nobels (and other cars), taking the engine and scraping the rest!

Naaa, don't worry - nothing quite as serious as that.

But honestly, as soon as the Chesterfield link came up, I remembered some more. Apparently these were men of esoteric interests. And by that I don't mean collecting bubble cars.

The thing about the internet is that several sites come up, but they all are rewrites of each other. The guy at work said these were either Isettas or Messerschmitts, but I guess the uninitiated always come up with those two names when micros or bubble cars are mentioned. The more knowledgable remember Heinkels and most younger people think about 'Robin Reliants' (sic) or disabled carriages.


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