Wigwam Murder

August Sangret

August Sangret (28 August 191329 April 1943) was a French-Canadian soldier of Indian birth, who murdered Joan Wolfe in Surrey, England. This murder case is also known as The Wigwam Murder.

On October 7 1942, two British soldiers saw a human arm sticking out of a pile of earth near Hankley Common, Surrey. When the woman's body was excavated, it had almost completely decomposed. The pathologist concluded the girl had been stabbed before receiving several blows to the head with a blunt object. The victim was identified as Joan Pearl Wolfe, a nineteen year old girl who had run away from home and lived in the woods near the army base. The area was scrutinized and a letter was found, written by Joan to a certain August Sangret. The letter informed Sangret that Wolfe was pregnant. On Sangret's clothes were found bloodstains, and his army knife was found soon after in a drainpipe. Sangret was charged with Wolfe's murder. He was tried and convicted in February 1943. The jury, who took two hours to reach their verdict, made a strong recommendation to mercy. Before sentence of death was passed Sangret declared: "I am not guilty. I never killed that girl. Sanget's appeal was dismissed and he was hanged at Wandsworth Prison on 29 April 1943.

Media Portrayal

The Sangret case was dramatized on the BBC radio series The Black Museum in 1952 under the title of "The Brass Button". The case was featured in the Discovery Channel television series Crime Museum UK in the episode "Strange Weapons".


  • J.H.H. Gaute and Robin Odell, The New Murderer's Who's Who, 1996, Harrap Books, London
  • Notable British Trials
  • Guy Bailey, The Fatal Chance, 1969, London
  • Edward Greeno, War on the Underworld, 1960, London

External links

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