Date: 30 Dec 1921
James McCluskey was found dead in a river.
He had disappeared on December 30-31 1921 and his body was later found in the River Wear on 3 February 1922.
His stepsons were tried for his manslaughter but were acquitted.
The court heard that James McCluskey had a very bad record for drunkenness and had been convicted before of assault.
James McCluskey went to his stepdaughter’s house at 2 Back Ford Terrace, Sunderland, whilst his stepsons were there. He was drunk and they had a row during which James McCluskey hit one of his stepsons with a brass kettle stand. James McCluskey was said to have said when he had got to the house 'You are the man I have been looking for'. There was then a fight with pokers and a pair of tongs during which one of the stepsons then got hold of the kettle and then hit James McCluskey with it who then fell to the ground.
Later at 1am the stepdaughter's husband saw the two stepsons leading James McCluskey back to his lodgings which was in the same direction as the River Wear. The stepsons returned 30 minutes later and said that they had taken James McCluskey back to his lodgings.
However, James McCluskey was found dead in the river 2 months later. He had 8 wounds and his skull and 2 ribs were fractured. He was said to have been dead before he entered the water.
When the stepsons were arrested by the police one of them said 'We got hold of McClusky and took him down to the waterside and down the steps and he fell into the river'. The other stepson said 'When we got near McClusky's house he pulled himself together and tried to fight. Whilst struggling McClusky fell through the railings into the river'.
The stepdaughter said that she had heard James McCluskey threaten to murder one of the stepsons.
the court heard that James McCluskey had 46 police convictions, one of which was for 18 months for wounding with intent.
However, after hearing the evidence for the prosecution the jury said that they didn't want to hear the evidence for the defence and the stepsons were acquitted.