Date: 9 Apr 1961
Patrick Mulligan was stabbed in a public lavatory in Worcester on the night of 8 April 1961.
A 39-year-old marine engineer of no fixed abode was tried for his murder at the Staffordshire Assizes but acquitted Thursday 13 July 1961. The jury came to their decision without hearing the closing speeches or the summing up.
Three demolition men were initially charged with his murder on Monday 10 April 1961 but released on 18 April.
The marine engineer was first seen by the police on 18 April 1961. When he was questioned by the police he said, 'I was not in Worcester on April 8. I don't even know where Worcester is'. He later said that he had spent the night on a railway station in London.
Patrick Mulligan was stabbed in the heart in a lavatory in Sidbury. He had been an Irish labourer and had lodged about 200 yards away in Hamilton Road.
Patrick Mulligan was known to have spent the night out drinking with some other Irishmen that had been working in the area. He was described as a stockily built man with fair crew-cut hair and had lived in the Worcester district for the previous four or five years.
It was thought that he had been stabbed with a long bladed knife and a search was made for it by police with dogs around the area with the police appealing to property owners to search their premises for it, particularly under cellar gratings. The police also searched the Worcester-Birmingham canal with the aid of electromagnets as well as dustbins and street litter bins.
The marine engineer was said to have been identified by two lorry drivers as the man that they had seen in the public convenience just before Patrick Mulligan was seen to stagger out bleeding from his chest wound.
Whilst he claimed not to have been in Worcester at the time the prosecution said that the marine engineer had been in London on 7 April and again on 10 April and said, 'On that basis, it would have been possible for him to have travelled up to Worcester on April 8 and returned to London on April 10'.
Patrick Mulligan was stabbed in the heart in the lavatory at about 11.30pm on Saturday 8 April 1961. He had been out drinking during the evening and was described as having been in an aggressive mood.
At about the same time that Patrick Mulligan was found lying in the road near the lavatory, three young Birmingham men, who had been drinking and rampaging around Worcester that evening were seen to leave the vicinity of the lavatory. That, coupled with the evidence that one of the three men was heard to say to his companions, 'You should not have done it' and other significant evidence, established what the police thought to be a prima facie case of murder against the three men and they were arrested and charged with Patrick Mulligan's murder.
However, investigations into Patrick Mulligan's murder continued with the result that a British Road Services lorry driver was traced who, on being seen, put a different complexion on the whole matter and it was realised that the three demolition men could not have been responsible for the murder. The men were then discharged on 18 April 1961 when they appeared on remand when the prosecution offered no evidence. A representative of the Director of Public Prosecutions said, 'I should, in all fairness, ask to make it clear that on the facts that were known and obtained at the time of the case, there was ample reason to justify the police arresting these men'.
The marine engineer was later arrested and charged with the murder.
Patrick Mulligan had been 22-years-old and the son of a farmer from County Longford in Eire. It was noted that his father was seen but could not give his exact date of birth. However, the local police in Longford said that he had never been in trouble and when a search was made in the Criminal Record Office and the Eire Criminal Record Office, no trace of any convictions recorded against him was found. However, it was noted that it could not be said with certainty that he had not been convicted of anything previously as his fingerprints were not taken until after his death.
His sister noted that he had always been in good health. She had lived in Hamilton Road, Worcester and said that Patrick Mulligan had lodged with her for about three months and described him as a labourer at Malvern. She added that he was a quiet and friendly man.
It was determined that Patrick Mulligan had left his lodgings with a friend, an Irish pipe layer, who had been to Hamilton Road looking for lodgings and went to the Red Lion public house where they remained drinking until just before 8pm when Patrick Mulligan left with two men, one of whom drove them to the Cross, which was in the centre of Worcester and dropped Patrick Mulligan and another man off. Patrick Mulligan then parted with the other man and went to the Fountain public house in Angel Street where he met another friend and then went off with him to the Five Ways Hotel where they drank 'black and tab'.
At about 9pm Patrick Mulligan and his friend went back to the Fountain public house where they met a number of other Irishmen including Patrick Mulligan's friends brother and his wife. They then stayed there drinking until just after closing time, 10pm.
It was said that whilst Patrick Mulligan had been in the Fountain public house that he had become involved in an argument with another man over an incident that took place on St Patrick's night and that when he left the pub that he became involved in another argument with a Scotsman that led to blows. His friend said that Patrick Mulligan was argumentative and approached several pedestrians in an aggressive way.
The police also took statements from eight other Irish men that had all been drinking in the Fountain public house, all of whom indicated that Patrick Mulligan had been in a thoroughly aggressive mood that night.
It was determined that after closing time at the Fountain public house at 10pm that Patrick Mulligan and two of his friends went off towards the milk bar where one of the friends went inside leaving Patrick Mulligan and the other friend outside in Foregate Street. Patrick Mulligan then obtained some cigarettes from a machine and he and his friend then went off for a taxicab. His friend said that he wanted to take Patrick Mulligan home but said that he was staggering and refused to go and that he went off alone in the taxicab at about 11pm, the last he saw of him being as he walked off towards the Cross in the direction of the lavatory where he was later stabbed.
Patrick Mulligan was later seen staggering across Sidbury shortly after 11.30pm which was about half-a-mile from where he had last been seen by his friend. He collapsed in the road and was dragged to the pavement at 103/105 Sidbury with blood pumping from a wound in his chest. A trail of blood was found that led from where he was found across Sidbury and Commandery Road to the toilet, a distance of about 59 yards.
The lavatory was a modern brick built building with frosted slatted windows which faced the bus stop and it was noted that at a certain angle that a person in the toilet could be seen from the outside.
The lavatory had two urinals and a wash basin as well as a WC cubicle that was opened by a 1d slot machine. It was lighted by three 60 watt lamps, one in the entrance, one over the WC door and one over the urinal.
One of the lorry drivers that saw the incident said that between 11.30pm and 11.42pm on 8 April 1961 that he drove his seven ton lorry on to the bus stop nearby and went to use the toilet. He said that when he went into the lavatory that he saw a young man alone in there, swaying and muttering to himself. He said that he thought that the man was drunk and noticed that the cubicle door was shut.
He said that he used the urinal and then returned to his lorry and stood up on the step of his cab to clean his windscreen and that whilst he was doing that that he heard a crash from inside the lavatory and that, looking through the slatted windows, that he saw the young man that he had just seen swaying and saying something. He said that he was interested and sat in his cab looking through the toilet window and then saw the young man take a running kick at the cubicle door, three or four times, taking his time between each kick.
By that time another lorry drew up driven by the other lorry driver that later gave evidence of witnessing the incident. The second lorry driver knew the first lorry driver and they spoke together for a few moments and the first lorry driver then drew the attention of the second lorry driver to what was happening in the lavatory and the peculiar behaviour of the young man in there. The second lorry driver then said that he wanted to use the lavatory and went inside.
The second lorry driver, who had been driving a 16 ton eight wheeler British Road Services lorry said that he had arrived at about 11.10pm and had stopped in front of the first lorry. He said that when he went inside the lavatory that he saw a man that he later identified as being Patrick Mulligan leaning against a wash basin.
He said that as he went into the lavatory he saw Patrick Mulligan leave the wash basin and kick the cubicle door, shouting, 'Come out'. He said that he saw no signs of blood or injury on Patrick Mulligan and that there was no blood on the floor of the toilet and no other person that he could see in the lavatory.
The second lorry driver said that he then used the urinal and that as he adjusted his clothing that the cubicle door opened and an older man walked out. He said that the man had no blood or sign of injury upon him. He said that he then asked Patrick Mulligan if he could use the cubicle and then went in and bolted the door. He said that inside he saw a tartan cushion on the floor.
He said that just as he was shutting the door that he heard a voice say, 'You can't get using a lavatory for you foreign bastards'. He noted that that was not the voice of Patrick Mulligan who he had heard speak with an Irish accent and that he thought that it must have been the voice of the man that had just left the cubicle.
The second lorry driver said that he had been sitting on the toilet when he heard the sound of a blow struck with a fist and then the sound of a scuffle and the voice of the man that had just come out of the cubicle say, 'I'll carve your guts you Irish bastard'. He said that following that that he heard the sound of further scuffle and the sound of two pairs of feet running out of the lavatory. He said that at the same time he heard the older man say four or five times, 'You Irish bastard'.
In the meantime the first lorry driver had been sitting in his cab. He said that a few minutes after the first lorry driver went into the lavatory that he heard a commotion inside and that immediately following that he saw the young fellow that he had previously seen in the lavatory come running out, followed at a distance of a few feet by another man that he had not seen before.
He said that the young man ran across the road followed by the older man but that his attention was focussed on the older man who was shouting, 'Come back here you dirty stinking bastard', or similar words.
The police report noted that in fact that they knew that Patrick Mulligan ran to his collapse and death across the street some fifty nine yards away but that all the first lorry driver saw was the older man chasing Patrick Mulligan and then stop after a few yards.
He said that after the older man turned back that he saw something shining in his hand that looked like a knife. He said that the man then returned to the lavatory and shouted something inside in a menacing manner and that he decided to go into the lavatory to see if his fellow lorry driver was all right.
The second lorry driver said that after he flushed the toilet that he heard the sounds of footsteps come back into the lavatory and the voice of the older man say, 'You'll get the same dose as your mate got when you come out'.
The second lorry driver held his cubicle door shut, but said, 'He's no mate of mine. If you look outside you'll see an eight wheeler. I've a night's work to do. Hang on until I come out'.
The second lorry driver said that he then heard the other lorry driver come into the lavatory and say, 'Are you all right?' and that he then emerged from the lavatory. He said that when he came out that he saw the older man was holding a gas mask case with his left hand and was putting something in it with his right hand. He said that the older man then said, 'I'm sorry about that'. He said that he saw blood on both the man's hands and that he was, in fact, shaking blood on to the floor of the toilet.
He said that the man then said, 'It's a pity you can't use the toilet without them coming kicking the door'. The second lorry driver said that he then asked the older man if the cushion in the toilet had been his and that when he said it was that he said, 'Well, using a toilet and kipping in it is two different things'. He said that he then gestured to the man's hands and said, ''You're bleeding there. You'd better go and see about it', to which he said the older man said, 'That Irish bastard stabbed me in the leg and ran away'.
The second lorry driver said that he then left the lavatory leaving the older man inside.
The first lorry driver said that when he went into the lavatory for the second time that he had seen the older man facing the cubicle but saw nothing in his hands although thought he saw blood on his right hand. He noted that he also saw blood spots on the floor of the lavatory and an army type khaki haversack standing on the floor. He said that he then asked the older man, 'What's the matter mate?', and received the reply, 'I was in there having a crap when this dirty stinking Irish bastard kept banging on the door. When I opened the door he smashed me in the mouth'.
The first lorry driver said that he was not clear what the older man then said but thought that it was, 'He pulled his knife out, so I pulled mine out'. He said that the man saw him looking at the blood on his hands and said, 'the bastard cut me a little, but he didn't hurt me much'.
He said that at about that time that the other lorry driver came out of the cubicle and that some more words were said which he could not remember and that they both left the lavatory, leaving the older man inside.
It was said that as the lorry drivers started to drive away that they both saw a police constable and tried to attract his attention but said that he was walking towards where Patrick Mulligan was and they drove off, seeing that the police constable was surrounded by two or three men.
It was noted that although there were no eye-witnesses to the murder that they had at least two ear witnesses which left it in no doubt that Patrick Mulligan had been stabbed in the toilet by the man that left the cubicle, possibly under circumstances of some provocation. It was further noted that at that stage the two lorry drivers didn't realise that they had been vital witnesses to a fatal stabbing and that it was also possible that even the older man had not realized that he had seriously hurt Patrick Mulligan as he had last seen him running away.
Although there were a number of other witnesses near the scene that saw Patrick Mulligan stagger across the road none of them were able to shed any further light on the case than that provided by the two lorry drivers. however, the lorry drivers were not initially known to the police as they drove off before the police arrived.
Patrick Mulligan was seen to stagger out of the footpath on Commandery Road into Sudbury by an 18-year-old youth that was riding his moped by at about 11.40pm. He said that he saw Patrick Mulligan reach the centre of the road and then suddenly collapse.
At that moment a 19-year-old youth saw Patrick Mulligan lying face down in the middle of Sidbury and the two youths then lifted Patrick Mulligan, noticing blood, and dragged him to the gutter whilst the 19-year-old youth rode off to the police station.
The 19-year-old youth said that he also noticed two lorries stationery near the lavatory, but saw nothing suspicious.
Another man had been cycling in Sidbury and also saw Patrick Mulligan collapse and after a minute or so he called the police from a nearby telephone kiosk and reported a drunk man in Sudbury.
Around the same time a taxicab driver had been driving along Commandery Road and he also saw Patrick Mulligan collapse and he drove straight to the police station, a matter of two minutes, and reported the occurrence.
A police constable that had been patrolling in Sidbury at about 11.40pm that night noticed a crowd of people outside 105 Sidbury and when he approached them he saw Patrick Mulligan who was lying on his back with a pool of blood beneath him. His chest was bare, but covered in blood. He remained with Patrick Mulligan until the arrival of the ambulance with a police sergeant.
Patrick Mulligan was then conveyed by ambulance to the Worcester Royal Infirmary where he was examined by a doctor.
At about 11.50pm a police constable examined the scene and noticed a second pool of blood in the middle of Sidbury where Patrick Mulligan first collapsed and followed the trail of blood spots back to the lavatory. He said that the blood trail went into the lavatory but that there was no one in there. He said that when he looked in the cubicle, which was empty, he noticed the tartan cushion there which was later taken as evidence.
It was noted that at no time did any of the police that arrived at the scene notice any lorries parked in Commandery Road, nor any person shouting to them.
No knife was found at the scene.
Patrick Mulligan died in Worcester Royal Infirmary at 5.30am on 9 April 1961.
When the doctor examined Patrick Mulligan he found that he had a stab wound on the front left of his chest which had passed through the fifth and sixth ribs to a depth of 2½ to 3 inches, penetrating the heart.
He also had a second slight, but sharply cut wound 2½ inches below the main wound. He had other slight abrasions on his forehead and right buttock, but no other injuries or defence wounds.
The doctor said that the wound the pierced his heart had been caused by a fairly sharp instrument, with the width of the blade being about ¾ inches at 2½ to 3 inches from his body and that the probability was that both edges were sharp.
The doctor said that he thought that Patrick Mulligan could well have run the fifty nine yards from the lavatory to the place where he collapsed and that that would have accelerated the action of his heart which would have explained the pool of blood at the place where Patrick Mulligan was found. The doctor noted that he thought that it was unlikely that there would have been any quantity of blood at the scene of the stabbing.
When the blood stains in the lavatory and along the trail to the place where Patrick Mulligan was found injured were examined they were all found to be of blood Group O which was the same group as Patrick Mulligan.
When Patrick Mulligan's clothing was examined the police found a cut on the jacket that had penetrated his left lapel, in other words through two thicknesses of the jacket at approximately the same position as his wound.
When the tartan cushion was examined the police found nothing of any significance on it. However, following an appeal on the BBC television service the owner of the cushion was eventually found, a married woman who said that she had given it to a man who when seen by the police said that it had been stolen from his car between 5 April 1961 and 12 noon on 9 April 1961. He said that during that time his car had been parked in various places in Worcester and that he had made one journey to Droitwich where he had parked his car for some time.
However, the man noted that at 10am on 7 April 1961 that he had left his car, fully locked, at Field Terrace, Worcester, which was quite near the lavatory, and that when he had next gone to the car at 12 noon on 9 April 1961 that he had found the ventilation window to the front passenger seat open and the back nearside door on the second catch and the cushion missing.
Although the man said that he had cleaned his car since 9 April 1961, the police examined it for fingerprints, but said that the only impressions they found were those of persons having legitimate access to the car.
The police noted that the lavatory and cubicle were also examined for fingerprints, but without success.
Although no knife was found, a 1,000 foot stretch of the Worcester/Birmingham Canal that ran to the rear of the lavatory was dammed and drained and the deep mud deposit was searched for any weapon but also without any success.
It was noted that due to the fact that the only clues as to the identity of the person in the lavatory was the description given by the two lorry drivers that it was obvious that any charge would stand or fall on their ability to identify the man and so the identification of the man by the two lorry drivers was of utmost importance.
With regards to the first lorry driver, he described the man in the lavatory as following:
'As aged about his early fifties, six feet tall, gave the impression of being well built, sallow complexion, clean shaven, but of rough appearance, bushy eyebrows. He was dressed in a brown cap and wearing two overcoats. All I could see was the top one which appeared to be of the type issued to Army motor cyclists. It was a dirty grey colour and had wrist bands with press studs. It was double breasted and had a storm guard collar. It was a long coat which came down half way between his knee and ankle. It appeared to be too big for him. It had inside side pockets with flaps which had press studs. I could not describe the coat under the mackintosh. He was wearing a dirty yellow muffler. He had on dark trousers and black shoes with thick soles, as if he had been putting one sole on top of another. The cap he was wearing was one of the old type which fastens on the peak with a press stud. I would recognise this man again'.
In a later statement the first lorry driver said that he had previously seen the man before on the roadside thumbing lifts and added that he could remember him because he always carried a cushion under his arm.
The police report noted that the first lorry driver made an excellent witness as he was a man of integrity, slow and deliberate in speech and quite certain in what he did.
The second lorry driver described the man in the lavatory as following:
'I think that the older man was about sixty. I would think that he was about 5ft 8in tall, well built, clean shaven, but rough appearance. He had a sallow complexion. I believe he had a trilby hat, I don't know the colour. All I know he had a long coat on, it may have been an overcoat, or raincoat. It might have been a greyish brown, but it was definitely long for the man. I can't describe his other clothing. I think I would recognise him if he had the same clothes on'.
However, the police noted that they were not so impressed with the second lorry driver's ability to make a good witness, stating that he didn't seem nearly so steady as the first lorry driver.
As such, the police stated that from the two descriptions that they were looking for a man of the roadster type for the following reasons:
The police report stated that it was not thought right at the early stage of the investigation to subject the witnesses to hundreds of photographs of criminals as it might possibly confuse them and instead they were interviewed by a detective from the Criminal Record Office at New Scotland Yard with the aid of an Identi-Kit, which was described as am American invention that had recently been introduced to the country by which endeavours were made to build up a likeness of the person described by means of transparent sheets. It was noted that the essence of that method was that each witness should be interviewed separately and patiently by an independent officer. The method was described as still being the subject of experiment in England.
Both the lorry drivers were interviewed and produced likenesses of the man which were photographed side by side.
It was stated that the first lorry driver was very happy with the likeness that he had produced and said that it gave an excellent impression of the wanted man, however, he noted that the cap was wrong, but it was the only cap available in the transparencies of the Identi-Kit.
The second lorry driver had described the man as having worn a trilby hat.
The police said that the next step was to find similar clothing to that described by the first lorry driver. An Army despatch rider's coat was found at a local barracks and the lorry driver agreed that it was identical to that worn by the suspect except for the colour. A cap similar to that worn by the suspect was also bought and the items were photographed on a model and the Identi-Kit likeness by the first lorry driver was superimposed on the face resulting in a final image of the suspect.
The photographs were then published in all Police Circulations, the Independent Television Association and BBC Television service co-operated and showed the photographs on their screens, pamphlets were prepared and distributed to RAC and AA road patrols, the co-operation of the Postmaster General was sought and given to allow country postmen to be given a description of the wanted man and a slide was prepared and shown in all cinemas throughout Worcestershire.
In addition, the police were asked to stop and check all vagrants who could possibly fit the description of the wanted man and particulars were taken of all past and present residents of Workhouses.
Advantage was also taken of the census which was on the night of 23 April 1961 and the police were asked to obtain particulars of all tramps and roadsters who could answer the description of the wanted man.
The Criminal Record Office and Regional Offices co-operated by providing the police with suggestions as to the identity of the wanted person and enquiries were made at every prison in the country where a roadster might have been taken without reference to Criminal Record Office.
The police report noted that the effort produced a mass of information and police forces from all over the country telephoned to say that they had tramps of similar description in their area and in some of the cases such men were detained and held awaiting their clearance and in the other cases men of similar description had been charged with an offence and were in custody.
The police report noted that although a Home Office Circular and various cited cases which suggested that photographs of persons in custody ought not to be shown to witnesses, it was found not to be a practical possibility to take the first lorry driver, who was a long distance lorry driver and seldom at home, all over the country to view suspects who were, at the best, only a possibility. As such, it was decided that unless there was other evidence that showed that a particular suspect was the man they sought, that it would be fair to obtain photographs of all likely persons, whether in custody or not, and submit them to the first lorry driver who was thus intercepted on his lorry journeys to the north and shown such photographs as they had been able to obtain during the preceding twenty four hours.
As such, in all, the first lorry driver was shown 138 photographs and attended four identification parades at Manchester, Gloucester, Worcester and Brixton Prison. It was noted that the first three suspects were men that they were not able to satisfactorily clear and or whom they could obtain no photographs.
On 19 April 1961 a detective with the Criminal Record Office was perusing forms relating to persons arrested the previous day when he saw the photograph of the marine engineer who had been arrested in the City of London for begging and charged. The detective was struck by the similarity of the marine engineer's photograph to the Identi-Kit likeness and immediately informed the detectives investigating Patrick Mulligan's murder.
When the marine engineer was questioned the same morning at Mansion house Magistrates' Court as to his movements on 8 April 1961 without mention of the Worcester murder he said that he had been working at the Savoy Hotel which he left on 9 April 1961 following a quarrel with one of the staff. He added that he had come down from Liverpool by road about five weeks previously and had since been living in lodging houses and sleeping rough.
He said that on 8 April 1961 that he had been working in a split duty and when he was shown a hacksaw blade that was found in his possession on arrest he said, 'I use that for cutting the meat'.
The detective that went to see him said that he was also struck by the similarity of the marine engineer to the Identi-Kit likeness and that as he could find no trace of the marine engineer's employment at the Savoy Hotel he sent the marine engineer's photograph to Worcester.
On 20 April 1961 the photograph of the marine engineer, with ten other photographs was shown to the first lorry driver, but he made no identification.
However, the police said that they felt that the reason for that was that the previous two days they had kept the first lorry driver in Worcester and taken him to Manchester and Gloucester for identification purposes and that he had had no change of clothing and had been anxious to return to Bristol and that the photographs he was shown on 20 April 1961 arrived a few minutes before he was due to catch his train to Bristol and that as such, on reflection, that the police felt that perhaps his mind was not sufficiently on what he was doing.
However, at all events, it was decided that the first lorry driver should be given another opportunity of seeing the marine engineer's photograph, bearing in mind the striking similarity to the likeness which had been circulated and at 2.40am on Wednesday 26 April 1961 the first lorry drivers journey north was interrupted and he was called to Worcester Police Station. He was then shown an album with twenty seven photographs by an officer on station duty there and after looking at the photograph of the marine engineer for some time he said, 'I'm, almost certain that this is the man. I would like to see this man'.
The marine engineer was seen again at Brixton Prison at which time he still insisted that he had been working at the Savoy Hotel on 8 April 1961, however, when he was seriously challenged about that he said that he had left the Savoy Hotel on 4 April 1961 and had since then been living in the Salvation Army Hostel at Waterloo until 7 April 1961 after which he had been sleeping rough in London on Waterloo and Liverpool Street Railway Stations. He denied ever having been in Worcester, but was told that it was proposed to put him up for identification.
At 3.30pm on 28 April 1961 the first lorry driver attended an identification parade at Brixton Prison. Prior to the identification parade the marine engineer was seen by a prison officer and given the opportunity of changing his clothing which was conspicuous but he declined. A photograph of him in his clothing was taken by the police for reference.
The identification parade was organised by the principal officer at Brixton Prison and attended by two detectives from the investigation. The parade consisted of seven other men of similar height and age, selected by the marine engineer from the exercise yard. On the advice of one of the detectives the marine engineer was again given the opportunity to change his clothing but again declined. When the first lorry driver was brought on to the parade he immediately recognised the marine engineer and selected him as the man he had seen in the lavatory.
The first lorry driver said that he immediately recognised the marine engineer as the man that he had seen in the lavatory at Worcester because of his features and that he had no doubt of his man.
He said that he also recognised the marine engineer's scarf, which incidentally was grey and not a dirty yellow as he had initially described it, noting that he also recognised the manner in which he was wearing it.
A khaki army raincoat was also found in the marine engineer's possession and when it was inspected in the lavatory under the electric light there was no doubt that it had a greyish appearance.
It was noted that although the marine engineer was only 39 years old, that he looked considerably older, as his photograph also showed.
On 10 May 1961 the marine engineer appeared on remand at Mansion House Justices Room, having previously pleaded guilty to begging and was sentenced to one day imprisonment and at about 10.45am that morning he was seen by the detectives in the murder investigation and told that he was being arrested for murdering Patrick Mulligan at Worcester on 8 April 1961.
After being cautioned he said, 'I wasn't in Worcester. You found no knife, or blood on my clothes. I shall find some witnesses to prove I was drinking in London that night'.
At 4.30pm on 10 May 1961 the marine engineer was placed on an identification parade again with ten other men of similar height and appearance at Worcester City Police Station and the second lorry driver was brought to the parade and immediately recognised the marine engineer. He touched him and said, 'That's the one I think it is' and at the same time the marine engineer said, 'I've never been in Worcester in my life before'. The second lorry driver then said that he had no doubts that the man that he selected was the man that he had seen in the lavatory on the night of the murder.
It was noted that the second lorry driver had not seen the first lorry driver since he had made his identification.
Following the second identification parade the marine engineer said, 'Well I would just like to say sir, I am not guilty. I have never been to Worcester in my life before'.
The police then made enquiries in London to establish the marine engineer's movements before and after the murder, particularly with a view to try and find a witness who could describe what clothes the marine engineer had been wearing before the murder.
Enquiries at the National Assistance Board at Borough High Street showed that he had last received assistance on 17 March 1961, on which date he was last seen at the Walworth Labour Exchange and his records showed that he had received no other assistance from any other office of the National Assistance Board since.
On 20 March 1961 it was found that he had commenced employment at Simpson Restaurant in the Strand as a plateman but that he was discharged as unsatisfactory on 4 April 1961 and last clocked off duty at 2.50pm. He was paid £2 17s 8d in cash. The sous chef at Simpsons Restaurant said that the marine engineer had been wearing an old grey raincoat and very heavy boots when he had left that employment.
The marine engineer had been a Third Engineer in the Merchant Navy during the war and had been torpedoed. He had been in receipt of a war disability pension. A woman that was employed in the Paymaster General's Office at the Russel Square office said that she had seen the marine engineer there on the afternoon of Tuesday 4 April 1961 and handed him his war pension voucher to the value of £4 15s 4d. She described him as wearing a dark, almost black overcoat, and said that he had been dirty in appearance.
At that time the marine engineer had been lodging at the Salvation Army Hostel at 263 Waterloo Road, Blackfriars and when he was arrested he had been in possession of a ticket issued at that hostel on 30 March 1961 for bed nos 26 for seven consecutive nights.
A captain at the hostel said that his records showed that a man with the same name as the marine engineer had stayed at the hostel until the morning of Friday 7 April 1961 and that no person of that name had stayed there since that date. However, neither the captain nor the night watchman at the hostel could recall how the marine engineer had been dressed whilst there.
It was noted that sometime during the morning of 7 April 1961 that the marine engineer cashed the war pension voucher that he had received on 4 April 1961 at the Yorkshire Bank Limited in Cheapside. The chief cashier there said that he made the payment and thought that the marine engineer had at that time been wearing a dirty fawn cotton gaberdine raincoat with a scarf knotted at the neck.
The police said that in an endeavour to find out where the marine engineer had acquired the large army raincoat that he was said to have been wearing in the lavatory on 8 April 1961, enquiries were made at many shops dealing in Government surplus clothing and it was found that five minutes from the Salvation army Hostel in Waterloo Road which the marine engineer had vacated on 7 April 1961 there was such a shop where a man and his mother traded under the name of FW Anscombe (Clothiers) Limited.
The proprietor said that at about the beginning of April 1961 that he purchased some ex-army motor cyclist coats of the type described by the first lorry driver. He said that they were extra-large and would only have been suitable for a man who was over six foot tall and that he was certain that he sold one of those coats to a man who wore it over the coat that he had come in wearing, noting that it came down almost to his ankles and made him appear ridiculous. He added that at the same time that the man also purchased an army gas mask case.
The proprietor additionally said that he had also had in stock a quantity of old type cloth caps with press stud peaks and recalled giving one of those away at about that time to a customer that bought some other goods. However, he said that he could not be sure that he had given the cloth cap to the same man that had bought the raincoat and gas mask case.
He described the customer as very shabbily dressed and noted that he had gone out of the shop wearing the mackintosh that he had purchased over a top grey coat that he had come in wearing and carrying the gas mask case. He noted that he believed that the man had also been wearing a scarf.
He said that the man paid about £3 17s 0d for the raincoat and 4s 6d for the gas mask case but unfortunately did not think that he could identify the man again.
The police report suggested that the coincidence of the purchase of such an unusual raincoat and a gas mask case by a person about the same height as the marine engineer and within five minutes’ walk from his lodgings, was too great to be ignored, for in addition, they knew that the marine engineer had the money to make such a purchase.
The marine engineer was next seen in London on 10 April 1961 when he went again to the Yorkshire Bank in Cheapside where he borrowed £5 from the manager there saying that he wanted to buy overalls and boots to start work for a firm name Charringtons, however the manager there was unable to describe the clothing worn by the marine engineer at the time.
Enquiries were made by the police at Charrington Breweries in Mile End Road and also Charringtons Coal Merchants but they were unable to trace any employment of the marine engineer.
Enquiries were also made at numerous lodging houses in London to make certain that the marine engineer had not been residing in any of them in London on the night of 8/9 April 1961 and the only trace they could find of anyone of that name lodging anywhere in London was at the Salvation Army Hostel at 116 Middlesex Street, E1 where the marine engineer had actually stayed on the night of 17/18 April 1961. A major there had personally booked in the man on 17/18 April 1961 but could not recall his dress. When the marine engineer was arrested for begging at 8.10pm on 19 April 1961 he had had the ticket for that nights’ lodgings in his possession.
The significance of the booking under the same name that the marine engineer used at the Salvation Army Hostel at 116 Middlesex Street was not expanded although it was stated that whilst the police had claimed he had been in Worcester on that night, the marine engineer had claimed that he had slept rough at a railway station that night and as such the detail was not material to either the defence or the prosecution even those it was regardless a remarkable coincidence given that he had stayed there on the night of 17/18 April 1961.
He had been arrested in Cannon Street, EC4 after he begged for money from a police constable. When he was arrested he said that he had come from Southampton and Liverpool and when he gave his antecedents he told the officer that he had been working at the Savoy Hotel until 9 April 1961 which was a Sunday and that he had since been unemployed and sleeping rough, but gave no indication that he had been out of London.
When he was arrested he had been in possession of a hacksaw blade that had been sharpened. The blade was examined by the laboratory but it bore no traces of blood. The blade was also seen by the doctor that examined Patrick Mulligan's wounds and he said that he was of the opinion that it could not have been the one that caused the injuries, noting that he could not make it penetrate two thicknesses of cloth whilst held with the bare hand and during tests it had snapped.
All of the marine engineer's clothing that he had been wearing upon his arrest were examined at the West Midlands Forensic Laboratory but nothing material could be found on any of the articles. It was noted that of his clothing the pair of boots appeared quite new, the combat jacket that he had been wearing, although greasy from sleeping rough, was not old and not worn, nor frayed in any places. It was also noted that the inside lining and arm pits were also quite clean.
His brown corduroy trousers were also new and the inside linings and the lining of the crutch were quite clean and fresh and the pockets not worn.
The police report stated that in their opinion the marine engineer had returned to London from Worcester on either the 9 or 10 April 1961 and had immediately borrowed £5 from the Yorkshire Bank to kit himself out afresh in order to get rid of the clothing that he had worn whilst in Worcester.
Intensive enquiries were made with a view to finding the army type raincoat and the shop where the marine engineer had bought his new clothes from.
The marine engineer was noted for having had nine convictions for burglary, shop breaking, larceny, assault on police etc with the last two convictions being for begging in 1960. All of his convictions, with the exception of the one at a court near Hull and been in the London area.
He had been certified as insane on a number of occasions and had been detained in mental hospitals in various parts of the country from where he had escaped several times and been discharged by operation of law.
He was described in police files as a good night breaker who always gave the excuse that he had been looking for somewhere to sleep and was noted for feigning insanity.
The police report noted that it was unfortunate that they had been unable to find any witnesses or evidence, apart from that of the two lorry drivers, to place the marine engineer in Worcester on 8 April 1961.
However, they noted that the identification by both lorry drivers was very positive and they had both had no doubt that they had picked out the right man.
It was further noted that the fact that the marine engineer had undoubtedly changed his clothing since 7 April 1961 and was almost certainly the man that had bought the extra-large raincoat on the same day within a few minutes’ walk of his lodgings, was in the police's opinion of some significance, as was the fact that he had told three police officers that he had been working at the Savoy Hotel until 9 April 1961, which was a Sunday, whereas in fact he had left his work the previous Tuesday.
The police report stated that it might have been that he had already been thinking of an alibi and might already have made some effort to secure an alibi for 8 April 1961 but had however given no indication to the police as to what public house he had been drinking in on the night of 8 April 1961.
However, it was later noted at the trial that when the marine engineer was giving evidence from the box that he had said that he had been drinking on 8 April 1961 and later went to an ABC cinema in the Blackwall Tunnel area where he watched a cowboy film and afterwards went to the Falcon public house and watched some TV. Whilst he was giving evidence the police made efforts to check his story and it was determined that there was an Essoldo cinema in East India Dock Road near to the Blackwall Tunnel and next door but one to 202a East India Dock Road where there was a Falcon public house and it was found that the film showing that day was 'The Rebel', a comedy film with Tony Hancock which was supported by a film about the Royal Tour of India.
It was noted that the only cinema in the Blackwall Tunnel area south of the river was the Granada on Tunnel Road and that had been showing the Swiss Family Robinson and a short film called Anna Girls.
It was further noted that the nearest ABC cinema was the Roxy in Old Dover Road, SE3 where the film Cimmarron City, a western was being shown.
When the landlords of the Falcon public house were questioned, they said that there was a TV set on in the public house bar which would have been switched on at about 7.30pm on the day in question which was normally a slack time for them.
However, it was later noted that at the end of the committal proceedings that the defence solicitor had approached the police and told them that the marine engineer had told him that he had been in the Coach and Horses public house in Mansell Street in the east end of London and had remembered the night because the landlord had had to throw out three drunken Irishmen that the police were called to deal with. The solicitor went on to say that the marine engineer had gone on to describe the public house as having a landlord, an assistant who was a cripple with two sticks and a young barman and that there had also been a masculine looking woman in the bar at the time with a disfigured nose. The solicitor noted that although he had employed an ex-police detective to make certain enquiries into that story, he had asked the police to make what enquiries they could to establish whether his client was telling the truth or not. To that effect the police later determined that there was no Coach and Horses public house in Mansell Street but that they had no doubt from the description of the staff that the marine engineer had been referring to the Three Tuns public house which was at the corner of Mansell Street and Whitechapel Street.
When the police went to the Three Tuns public house and showed a photograph of the marine engineer to the landlords they confirmed that he was a regular at the house but none of them could remember the weekend of 7, 8 or 9 April or whether the marine engineer had been in the house that weekend. However, they did recall an incident where three Irishmen were put out of the public house and that the police had to be called as one of them refused to go. Whilst the police were there they saw a woman matching the description of the woman with the disfigured nose and whilst it was not certain whether she had been the woman that the marine engineer had been referring to, when she was shown a photograph of him she recalled having seen him before but could not say where and didn't know his name.
She went on to say that she had been using the Three Tuns public house on the Friday evening but that on the Saturday, 8 April 1961 she had gone to the Ten Bells public house in Spitalfields and didn't enter the Three Tuns. The woman was further noted as having been of masculine appearance with a disfigured nose.
The police noted that the Three Tuns public house was on the boundary of three police stations, Bishopsgate, Leman Street and Commercial Street and they were all approached with regards to the incident relating to the three Irishmen being thrown out on the night of 8 April 1961 but all of the replies were negative although it was noted that some statement were still to be received due to illness and annual leave. Further, the occurrence books and charge books at all three police stations were checked and none of them had recorded any incidents of that nature at the Three Tuns public house or anywhere else in the East End of London which the police later noted proved conclusively that there had been no incident in which the police were involved at the public house on 8 April 1961.
However, at the trial a senior transport policemen came forward to say that he recalled seeing the marine engineer at Charing Cross railway station in London at the time of the crime and the case collapsed. The railway policeman said that he had turned the marine engineer out of the station on the night of 8 April 1961.
The railway policeman had said that he had seen the marine engineer at Charing Cross at 12.45am on 9 April 1961. However, the prosecution asked him why he had not come forward when enquiry was first made of him on 3 May 1961 he asserted for the first time that he had told the detective that came to see him of the sighting although the detective he referred to later after the trial rebutted that.
It was also noted that the marine engineer had claimed that he had spent the night sleeping in either Waterloo or Liverpool Street railway stations and that when he was specifically asked whether he had been stopped by the police at any of those stations that he had said that he did not see anyone. Further, the Transport Commission Police at Waterloo railway station said that they had visited police officers that had been on duty at Waterloo, Charing Cross and Victoria and in doing so had spoken to the railway policeman that gave his evidence at the trial and said that he told them that he had checked the Occurrence Book and also his pocket book and had no record of the marine engineer having been at the station on the night of 8/9 April 1961 and further told them that he knew the marine engineer as he had arrested him previously on two occasions but had not seen him recently.
As such, the police report stated that it was strange that the railway policeman should say that he had no recent recollection of having seen the marine engineer when he was questioned on 3 May 1961 but after seeing his photograph in the newspaper 16 days later then suddenly remember the incident. The police report stated that combined with the fact that the porter was not happy about the matter that it gave cause to wonder whether the or not the railway policeman had been boasting and putting himself in a false position.
In his evidence the railway policeman said that he had first come to know the marine engineer about five years earlier when he had arrested him at Waterloo Railway Station for drunkenness and then again at Charing Cross Railway Station for obtaining a meal by fraud and that since that time he had seen him on one occasion passing through Charring Cross Station. He said that he had a strong feeling that it was on his last night of duty, that was 8/9 April 1961, that he saw the marine engineer in the waiting room at Charing Cross Railway Station when he was pointed out to him by a night duty porter. He said that he turned the marine engineer out of the waiting room but had no record of the incident in his pocket book. It was also noted that the incident was not noted in the Occurrence Book either at the station.
A railway porter at the station confirmed at the trial that the railway policeman turned a man out of the waiting room facilities on the night of 8/9 April 1961, but said that he could not identify the man or describe what he had been wearing. However, he later came forward to say that he had given the matter considerable thought and that he was unable to say definitely when the man was ejected from the station although in his evidence he had stated that he was quite definite that the man had been ejected on 8/9 April 1961. A police report noted that the matter had caused the night porter some considerable anxiety and that he had gone to some pains to later alter his previous statement.
Two other defence witnesses were called, one being a man that said that he had seen the marine engineer in Mile End at 11pm on 8 April 1961, however, his evidence was completely discredited in every respect and he went on to reveal what the police said they already knew, that he was mentally unbalanced and astounded the judge and court by giving a lecture from the witness box on how to dig for gold in Dartmoor.
It was also heard that an anonymous letter had been received stating that the crime had been committed by another man, a lorry driver. It was noted that the letter which was sent to the Chief Constable of Worcester, had a Stratford-on-Avon postmark and had been dated 19 May 1961 and could not have been posted by the marine engineer as he had been in custody at the time.
The letter had read, 'I do not know how to put this to you. I am going mad. All you know is that a man was killed. You do not know that it was his own fault. I was in the lavatory, there was this mad Irishman and a lorry driver. I asked the driver to give me a cup of tea and a lift to Brum. He hit me in the teeth. I did not kill this man but I think the lorry driver, who had a bit to drink, did'.
The second lorry driver also stated that when he had picked out the marine engineer at the identification parade that he had not picked him out as a man that he positively identified but as a man that most closely resembled the description that he had given the police.
It was also heard that two other prosecution witnesses that gave evidence of identification of the marine engineer in some other capacity and who were both beforehand expected to be unsatisfactory witnesses were both discredited with one of them going so far as to identify a member of the jury as the man she was called to identify.
When reference to the Identi-Kit system was made at the trial the judge asked how the system worked and was told, 'It is a system widely used in American police forces whereby they get descriptions and build up a drawing with all the known features', The judge then commented, 'I should have thought it gets some very odd results' to which the QC defending said, 'I should think that at times it does, but popular repute is that it does at times achieve some success'. When the judge was later shown the Identi-Kit pictures of the suspect seen in the lavatory, he said, 'It looks like Cardinal Wolsey'.
When the evidence was completed the judge told the jury that the only evidence against the marine engineer was that of the two lorry drivers and that 'not a shred' of the rest of the prosecution’s evidence would get them anywhere and after a short adjournment the judge told the jury, 'In the normal way you would now hear the speeches by both counsel, and then a summing up by me. You have been quite properly told that you cannot convict this man unless you are sure that the charge has been proved. You cannot come to an adverse decision till you have heard the speeches and the summing-up, but at this stage if you may, 'We are simply not certain' you are entitled to say so'.
The jury then acquitted the marine engineer without retiring.
Following that the judge said that some sort of provision ought to be made to the marine engineer and suggested that the Probation Service should help him and the defence noted that he understood that some steps had been taken to find him accommodation. The marine engineer then told the judge that he intended to spend the night in Birmingham and then travel to Liverpool to seek work.
The judge then noted that he was not suggesting for a moment that the prosecution had been improper or unnecessary, but that it was impossible for the Crown to ask for a verdict of guilty on the evidence. He added that it was no reflection on the police who he said had 'made the most thorough investigations'.
Following the acquittal the police produced a report and in communications concluded that they were satisfied that they had identified the correct man for the murder.
see National Archives - MEPO 2/10437, ASSI 6/234, DPP 2/3282
see A Calendar Of Murder, Criminal Homicide In England Since 1957, Terence Morris and Louis Blom-Cooper
see Halesowen News
see Birmingham Daily Post - Monday 10 April 1961
see Aberdeen Evening Express - Monday 29 May 1961
see Birmingham Daily Post - Thursday 13 July 1961
see Birmingham Daily Post - Wednesday 12 July 1961
see Aberdeen Evening Express - Tuesday 30 May 1961
see Coventry Evening Telegraph - Thursday 13 July 1961