Date: 22 Oct 1951
Albert Thompson was found injured in Wallasey Bridge Road in Birkenhead in the early hours of 22 July 1951.
A labourer was tried for his murder, but he pleaded not guilty and no evidence was offered and he was discharged.
There had earlier been a twenty-first birthday celebration at Albert Thompson's sister-in-law’s house at 8 Wallasey Bridge Road, Birkenhead but in the early hours there was a row and it was said that Albert Thompson was knocked down by the labourer who was tried for his murder. Albert Thompson was taken to hospital but was found to be dead on arrival.
It was claimed that while Albert Thompson lay dying on the pavement that members of the two families, Albert Thompson's family and the labourer's family fought nearby.
It was said that after the labourers brother had gone home and told the labourer that he had been assaulted at the party, the labourer came by the party and said, 'Who done our kid brother?'. It was then said that Albert Thompson had said that he didn't know and that the labourer had then produced some kind of weapon that looked like a metal bar and struck him a violent blow between the eyes and that Albert Thompson then fell to the ground. It was said then that whilst Albert Thompson lay on the ground that a violent fight went on.
However, it was heard in court that it was clear that the blow to Albert Thompson's face was not responsible for his death.
Albert Thompson's sister-in-law said that on 21 July 1951 they had a twenty-first birthday party at their house. She said that at about 11pm her sister came home from work and saw the labourer's brother in their house. She said that the labourer's brother became abusive and that some of the men at the party ejected him but said that he returned and he was put out again. She said that things then went quiet and the celebrations continued.
She said that at about 1.30am Albert Thompson arrived at the house and she spoke to him, saying that he was sober. She said that shortly after there was some more trouble outside the house and Albert Thompson went out the back way. She noted that he was a peaceful man.
She said that he had not been out of the house for more than five minutes when she heard her niece screaming. She said that she ran to the corner of Tees Street and Wallasey Bridge Road and then saw Albert Thompson lying in the centre of the foot walk with his feet pointing towards his home.
She noted that his head was nowhere near the edge of the kerb and that he was lying parallel with the kerb and the fencing of the houses.
She said that she stooped down to see if she could help him and noticed that his hands were in his pockets. She said that she then remained with Albert Thompson until the ambulance arrived and took him away.
The labourer who was charged with his murder said:
'Last night I was in the house after having been out and had some beer. My brother came in bleeding and his eye cut open. He told me in he had been to a party in the house in Wallasey Bridge Road. I asked him what had happened to him and he told me that he had been beaten up. I went to Wallasey Bridge Road to see what it was all about, and I was greeted with bottles and insults, and a fight started between me and all the others who were at the party. I got out of the way because there was too many of them. They were all shouting and wanting to fight me. I went home and went to bed and the next thing I knew was when you came and got me out of bed'.
However, shortly after he changed his statement and said:
'I want to tell you the truth about what did happen last night. When my brother came to our house and told me that he had been knocked about, I went to Wallasey Bridge Road to see what it was all about. When I got into Wallasey Bridge Road, I saw Albert Thompson standing by the top of Tees Street. He was by himself and the rest of the crowd was further up near to the house. Albert Thompson said to me, 'Here is another one', and went to strike me. Before he hit me, I struck him a blow with my right fist. I walked away then and the crowd got around me. One of the crowd hit me with a bottle. I didn't see any of my brothers there'.
A man that lived at 14 Wallasey Bridge Road said that in the early hours of 22 July 1951 he was in his house and that when he went out down to his front gate he saw Albert Thompson lying on the ground on the pavement about five yards from the gate. He said that there were two woman with him but he didn't know their names, but said that he thought they were relatives. He said that one of them called for some water and so he went back in and got a small bowl of lukewarm water and took it to them and stayed with them until the ambulance came and took Albert Thompson away. He added that whilst he was there that no one else came near Albert Thompson and that he didn't see anyone ill-treat him.
The labourer was acquitted at the Chester Assizes on Monday 23 October of murder having spent three months in custody under the murder charge. The judge then sentenced him to 21 months for wounding Albert Thompson with intent to do him grievous bodily harm, saying, 'If one has any imagination, I think one realises that being a prisoner under that charge for three months must be a very terrible ordeal. Apart from that I can find nothing to say in your favour. It was a shocking assault and should be punished as such'.
see National Archives - ASSI 91/34, ASSI 84/117
see Coventry Evening Telegraph - Tuesday 23 October 1951
see Liverpool Echo - Monday 22 October 1951