Unsolved Murders

Peter Whittam

Age: 42

Sex: male

Date: 1 May 1911

Place: Bury

Peter Whittam died from head injuries.

A man was tried for his murder but acquitted. It was said that the man had been heard to utter threats against Peter Whittam because he had been seeing his wife.

Peter Whittam had left his home about 7pm 1 May 1911 telling his wife that he would not be very late and later returned home about 1.15am having been brought home by two constables. His wife said that his collar and coat were saturated with blood and that when she examined him she found that he had a bruise to the back of his head and that his forehead and that his mouth was also cut. She said she bathed the injuries and asked him how he got them, and Peter Whittam told her that a man had done it the previous night.

In the morning his wife went to work at 6am and when she returned at 10am she said that she found Peter Whittam in a semi-conscious and so she called for the doctor.

Peter Whittam's wife said that rumours had reached her that her husband had been bothering with a man's wife although she had never seen them together. Peter Whittam had also told his wife that had been with the man's wife and had only been living in the same house for two nights. Peter Whittam's wife said that during the previous three weeks her husband had been away from home for something like a fortnight.

Peter Whittam's wife said that while her husband was away the man had called round and said, 'If I ever get hold of your husband he will never breathe the breath of life again'.

On 24 March the man had bought Peter Whittam home to his wife saying, 'Now come here and promise in front of your wife you will never bother again', and said that Peter Whittam promised that he would never bother again. She said that on that occasion Peter Whittam had a mark to the right of his face.

The man's wife said that she had been living apart from her husband on Back Bolton Street, Bury and had met Peter Whittam on 1 May 1911 by arrangement at the top of Tenterdon Street, Bury and had then gone to the Waterloo Hotel on Manchester Road, Bury with him where they had both had three stouts and three rums and then left at 10.30pm going on to the Jolly Wagoner’s Inn on Manchester Road where they each had a small rum before leaving at 10.45pm.

She said that they then went along Byron Street and over the Buckley Wells level crossing through the small railway arch at Shore Fields by the footpath adjoining in the Grammar School Cricket Ground and then into Millet Street where they met her husband nearer the Bolton Street end that the Tenterden Street end. The man's wife said that they were both nearly drunk and were walking side by side. She said that her husband said to her, 'Come on home with me'. She said that Peter Whittam then ran off towards Tenterden Street and that her husband then chased him. However, she said that she didn't see where they went and that that was the last she saw of them that night.

At the trial the man, who was a firebeater, said that he had found Peter Whittam and his wife both drunk in the street and that he had given Peter Whittam a push and that he had fallen and hit his head on a kerbstone.

The magistrate then discharged him without hearing the defence.

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see National Archives - ASSI 52/178

see Belfast News-Letter - Friday 12 May 1911

see Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail - Wednesday 10 May 1911