Unsolved Murders

Bridget Mullins

Age: 69

Sex: female

Date: 27 Nov 1905

Place: Oak Street, Rochdale, Lancashire

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Bridget Mullins was said to have been knocked down, kicked and thumped on her forehead by a stranger that came to her house on Saturday 18 November 1905.

She was taken to Rochdale Infirmary where she died from the effects of her injuries on Monday 27 November 1905.

A 28-year-old canal boatman was tried for her manslaughter at the Manchester Winter Assizes but acquitted after the judge said that the prosecution’s case was improbable and that there seemed that there was no motive for the man to have attacked Bridget Mullins.

The man said that Bridget Mullins' daughter had asked him to help her home, which he did. It was said that Bridget Mullins was very drunk whilst the man had been sober. He said that after he had taken her daughter home and was standing at the door that Bridget Mullins came out with an iron scraper and struck him a blow in the face, spat in his face and used bad language to him. He said that he then took hold of the iron scraper and that she then fell back inside the house with her head towards the fireplace, adding that he didn't touch her.

Bridget Mullins's daughter said that she resided with her mother and had gone out on the Saturday evening at about 6.30pm, 18 November 1905.

She said that she went to the Bowling Green public house where she stayed until about 9pm and that when she went home, she found her door locked. She said that she then went off again and went to the Citizens' Inn, arriving there at about 10pm, where she met the canal boatman who she said she had not previously known.

She said that they then left the Citizens' Inn and went to a house in Great George Street where they stayed until 11.25pm.

She said that they then left, together with another woman, and went to her house in Oak Street, stating that the canal boatman went in first and that she followed a minute or two after.

However, she said that when she went into the house that she saw her mother on the floor and the canal boatman give her a running kick, noting that he had been wearing nailed shoes. She said that the kick was a severe one and that he kicked her on her left side.

She said then that when she remonstrated with the canal boatman that he hit her on the nose and felled her to the ground and that as he left the house that Bridget Mullins excalimed, 'Oh, it's murder at last'.

She said that when she went to see her mother, she was bleeding from the nose and that she got a doctor for her the following morning.

She said that she had had some drink, but that she knew perfectly well what had transpired.

A woman who lived in 2, 4 Court, Great George Street, said that on the Saturday night at about 10.50pm that Bridget Mullins's daughter and the canal boatman came to her house, noting that Bridget Mullins's daughter was in drink but that the canal boatman was sober and that at about 11.20pm that they left her house and that she accompanied them part of their way home, noting that she was herself in drink.

The woman said that when she called at Bridget Mullins's house shortly before midnight she found Bridget Mullins on her hands and knees on the floor, saying that she was bleeding from the nose and complained that a man had ill-treated her.

Following her death a doctor carried out a post-mortem on her body and said that he found that Bridget Mullins had bruises on her face and arms and that two of her ribs were fractured on her left side and that her ninth rib had perforated her lung. He noted that the right side of her chest was normal. He said that Bridget Mullins had pneumonia in the lower lobe of of her left lung which was recent and that her right lung showed signs of old bronchitis.

The doctor concluded that her death had been caused by cardiac failure, pneumonia and pleurisy, caused by the fractures to her ribs.

He added that Bridget Mullins had told him that she had been kicked in the ribs by a man, saying that she told him that a man had entered her house and that she had attempted to drive him out and that he had knocked her down and kicked her.

The doctor noted that Bridget Mullins rib fractures would have been the result of a good deal of violence and that they could not have been caused by falling against anything.

At the inquest, the coroner said that he didn't think that the canal boatman had intended to kill Bridget Mullins when he struck her the blow, but that he had simply hit her to get her out of the way for a time. The jury then brought in a verdict of manslaughter against the canal boatman.

However, at the trial, when the judge summed up, he said that the prosecution’s case was most improbable and that that there seemed no motive for the crime and the jury acquitted him.


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


see Northern Daily Telegraph - Thursday 01 February 1906

see Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Tuesday 28 November 1905

see Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Friday 02 February 1906

see Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Thursday 30 November 1905

see Manchester Evening News - Tuesday 28 November 1905