The newspaper archives are riddled with stories of murders and perversely suicides in cabs. In the second half of Victorian London, no fewer than 12 people are recorded as taking their lives in the back of a cab. The most famous being The Earl of Shaftesbury who shot himself in April 1886, probably in desperation after listening to the cabbie droning on about something.
Murders were also commonplace in cabs. Music hall artist Florence Dudley was shot dead in the back of a cab near Fenchurch Station by Edward G. Hopwood, but it was in post-war London that saw a bizarre and grim pattern of cabbies being murdered. These included the so-called ‘Cleft Chin’ murder of cabbie Edward Heath, by an American paratrooper and a female dancer in January 1945.
That same year in October Frank Everett was murdered in his cab, and the next month on 1st November ‘Russian Robert’ Ruben Martirossof was shot dead in his cab.
‘Jolly Cabbie’, Joseph Desmond, again was shot dead in his cab on 6th October 1947 and oddly, three of the post-war murders either took place in or were linked to, Notting Hill.