Luton-born intensive care doctor pens true crime book The Cottontown Killer

Lose yourself in a gripping, historic account of a real-life murder that took place during 1948

Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 11:10 am

A Luton-born intensive care doctor has written his first true crime book whilst working to save patients during the coronavirus pandemic.

'The Cottontown Killer', by Dr James Watts, is a historic account of a real-life murder that took place during 1948 in Blackburn, Lancashire, at the hospital he works in.

The book tells the story of the revolutionary manhunt for a child murderer and the techniques that Scotland Yard’s most notorious detective used to bring the killer to justice.

Dr Watts (right) with his son, Thomas.
Dr Watts (right) with his son, Thomas.

Dr Watts, 56, who has been treating critically ill patients during the coronavirus pandemic, said: “The story was originally told to me by an elderly patient . I’d never heard of it before, but it was so shocking and extraordinary. I couldn’t believe that a notorious murder took place where I’d been working for years”.

Dr Watts, who still has relatives in Luton, was the first pupil from Cardinal Newman School to study medicine at university. He wrote the book in his spare time with his son, Thomas Watts, 27, who works in broadcasting.

He continued: “We researched newspaper archives, libraries and interviewed local residents to make the book as accurate as possible. We wanted to make sure that the story of the superhuman effort made by both the police and townspeople was told."

Since its publication, the book has received many five-star reviews by readers.

One reviewer stated: "Not only well written and researched. Includes a quick insight into this island's reaction to murder through the ages and also a brief insight into why and how the two main detectives progressed this appalling child murder. In summary an excellent telling of an actual murder. As stated, couldn't put the book down."

'The Cottontown Killer' is available to buy in paperback on e-book format on amazon: Watts works at the Royal Blackburn Infirmary, which incorporates the Queen's Park Hospital - the site of the murder- in its grounds.