Unsolved Murders

Elizabeth McDermott

Age: 54

Sex: female

Date: 25 Dec 1919

Place: Liverpool Town Hall, Covent Garden, Liverpool

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Elizabeth McDermott was found dead and naked behind Liverpool Town Hall on Christmas morning.

Her head had been battered in and her clothing which had been torn to bits was found nearby and it was assumed that a terrific struggle between her and her killer had taken place.

Her purse with a modest sum of money in it was found some yards away.

Her body was discovered by a telegraph messenger shortly after 8.30am in a recess. She had been battered about the face and the back of the head and it was presumed that she had been dead for several hours.

She had been an unfortunate and was known to the police and had many convictions against her for drunkenness, larceny and other offences.

A sailor was arrested on suspicion of her murder but was later released when it was determined that the evidence indicated that a big Irish man aged between 50 and 60 who was seen to enter Lime Street Station with bloodstained clothing was the main suspect. The person that had seen the Irishman said that the sailor was not that person. The Irishman, who had wounds on his head and face, had told someone at the station that he had been involved in a fight in a pub in Sheffield and had taken a fancy to go to Liverpool.

When the sailor who was the initial suspect was arrested he had said, 'Well, on Tuesday or Wednesday evening, I mean Christmas Eve, I left the ship at 6 o'clock. I went up Scotland Road to meet a friend of mine. I saw him at 8 o'clock and I had been with him and the girl friend of his until half-past 11 when I lost my friend. We waited (me and the girl) until a quarter-past twelve. Then the girl showed me to the Pier Head, and she then went home. I went to the station and stayed there until a policeman awakened me'.

Elizabeth McDermott was also known as Bella Wilson and Isabella Wilson.

She had lived in lodgings on Richmond Row for several years.


*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.


see Portsmouth Evening News - Tuesday 13 January 1920

see Leeds Mercury - Monday 29 December 1919

see Lancashire Evening Post - Saturday 27 December 1919

see Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Tuesday 13 January 1920