John Preston

A date with death

On 8 January 1937, an old man was taking his prize songbird for an early morning walk in the eastern section of Peking when he came across a woman’s body lying in a ditch. The face had been disfigured, the ribs hacked apart and the heart removed. Pathologists who examined the corpse thought it was one of the worst cases of mutilation they had ever seen — ‘and that was saying something’.

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