Unsolved Murders

Benjamin George Franklin

Age: unknown

Sex: male

Date: 17 May 1929

Place: Bertram Street, South Shields

Benjamin George Franklin was stabbed in broad daylight on Bertram Street on 17 May 1929. A man was tried but found not guilty.

On 17 May 1929 a man was seen fighting with Benjamin Franklin on the corner of South Eldon Street and Bertram Street by the driver of the number 40 tram at about 5.35pm. The tram driver saw the man put out his right hand to Benjamin Franklin who then put his right hand to his left breast and grabbed the man with the other hand. He saw the man wriggle free and then run off chased by Benjamin Franklin.

The tram driver then got his starting signal and drove up Berwick Street where he saw the man run along Berwick Street and then go round the corner of Reed Street towards Eldon Street. He said he didn’t know where Benjamin Franklin was.

When the tram got to the corner of South Frederick Street and Bertram Street it stopped at a stopping stage. Then the tram driver noticed a commotion at the rear of the tram where he saw the conductor and another man carrying Benjamin Franklin who appeared to be unconscious. They then put Benjamin Franklin onto the rear platform of the tram and drove him to Laygate where they alerted the police and then took him to Ingham Infirmary.

The tram driver later attended an identification parade on 10 June but failed to identify the man.

The conductor told a similar story saying that he saw two coloured men fighting at the corner of South Eldon Street and Bertram Street and that he recognised Benjamin Franklin as a regular tram passenger. He said that as the tram went along Berwick Street he saw Benjamin Franklin running and saw his legs give way and him collapsing. The conductor then jumped off the platform and went to the assistance of Benjamin Franklin who was bleeding heavily and with assistance carried him to the tram and took him first to the Laygate Crossing where they reported the matter to the policeman on point duty and then took the tram to Ingham Infirmary.

The conductor also failed identify the man in an identification parade.

When the man who was arrested and tried for the murder was questioned he denied all knowledge of the event saying that it wasn’t him who stabbed Benjamin Franklin.

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

see www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

see The Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Friday 02 August 1929

see Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Monday 18 November 1929

see Aberdeen Journal - Monday 18 November 1929

see National Archives - ASSI 45/89/10