AROUND 142 years ago, the body of murdered Workington teenager Lucy Sands was discovered, months after she had gone missing.

Her murderer was never brought to justice.

After more than a decade of research, as well as several years of filming and editing, Devon-based director Stephen Baldwin claimed he is set to finally expose the truth, when the first two episodes of his six-hour series premiere in Cumbria this summer. 

In an interview with the News & Star, he shared just how he became obsessed with Sands' demise, how the series has come together, and how the spirit of Cumbria has helped to produce what he believes will be a hit series. 

He said: "It was very strange, it started as a dream. It haunted me for a while and I thought, what is it? Through the wormhole of it all, I ended up finding out about Lucy Sands. That's when I started investigating the actual murder story, but there wasn't much around when I had the dream in 2011."

News and Star: Lucy Sands before her murderLucy Sands before her murder (Image: Supplied)

It took Stephen around four years in total to decipher his vision, which, with the help of the Helena Thompson Museum, he later realised was the exact spot where Lucy was murdered. 

He added: "I was researching and researching and it became quite obsessional. It was an unsolved murder, somebody must have known who it was, but nobody came forward. Workington became the height of activity once the body was discovered. People were flocking into the town from across the UK.

"It reached hysteria levels when the West Cumberland Times reported it and it went viral, reaching all corners of the British Empire. It was massive."

Stephen's fascination with the case only grew as he attained newspaper cuttings and court transcripts from the time around Lucy's death.

As a result, he feels that around 80 per cent of the series will be historically accurate, but some character's histories were simply too difficult to track down.

News and Star: Director Stephen BaldwinDirector Stephen Baldwin (Image: Supplied)

Originally, he had planned to shoot a film using local actors but the pandemic forced him to postpone things for 18 months.

Although that allowed him more time for research, it significantly increased costs, while more and more people from across Cumbria volunteered their time as Covid restrictions were gradually lifted. 

Stephen said: "I pulled it through somehow by just sort of working hard and selling stuff. Putting my all into it. And the help from the people of Cumbria has been amazing. We've had help from the Helena Thompson Museum. We've had people from all over Maryport and Workington, especially, who have just been so accommodating.

"People have offered us cups of tea and biscuits when we've been filming in the streets."

The six-hour series will not just tell the story of Lucy and her murderer, but also of Maggie, Jane and Mary, girls close to Lucy whose lives were tainted in the aftermath. 

Stephen added: "The four girls went through hell. Lucy, with being murdered, obviously. And then the other three surviving ones. They were just blamed constantly for her murder. The whole town was turned against them. And it was pretty harrowing.

"So we're not just giving Lucy a voice here, because hers was silenced and robbed unfairly of justice. But we're also giving voices to the three girls who I believe received a lot of injustice."

News and Star: Lucy's body was discovered in Workington under stones in 1881Lucy's body was discovered in Workington under stones in 1881 (Image: Supplied)

The series will cover three different genres of true crime, period drama and supernatural, as Lucy's ghost will appear throughout the series.

Stephen now hopes to sell the series to properly pay back the 550 actors who also got hooked on the series and worked on expenses during the filming.

The director and writer is hugely grateful to Cumbria as a whole, as the beautiful scenery provides a perfect backdrop for his series, with the streets of Workington used to replicate the Victorian setting, while the people have also played a significant part in the series coming together. 

He said: "We've got some amazing backdrops where we actually shot especially in Cumbria and in towns. It takes a massive team to bring this together. Over 500 people have been involved in this and everyone of them was integral and did them part. Without them, the series wouldn't have happened.

"There's at least 300 people in Cumbria who have appeared in this. I'm hoping it helps to boost the county and brings more into the area."

Stephen tracked down family members of those involved as part of his research and faced some opposition from American relatives of the 'murderer', as he will be named publicly for the first time.

Humorously, UK relatives of the alleged murderer offered to appear in the filming as police officers who help bring him to justice.

News and Star: The series posterThe series poster (Image: Supplied)

The first two episodes of the series will be shown at the Helena Thompson Museum on Saturday July 7 and Sunday July 8, with tickets available now.