Unsolved Murders

Thomas Stanley Griffiths

Age: 22

Sex: male

Date: 26 May 1940

Place: Gladstone Road, Seaforth

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Thomas Stanley Griffiths died after being punched and falling and hitting his head on the ground.

He was knocked to the ground on the Saturday night, 25 May 1940, during a quarrel in Gladstone Road, Seaforth and was taken to Bootle General Hospital where he died the following day, Sunday 26 May 1940.

The police surgeon that carried out his post-mortem said that Thomas Griffiths's death was due to haemorrhage and injuries to the brain caused by a fracture to the base of the skull.

A 24-year-old painter was tried for his manslaughter but acquitted.

It was heard that Thomas Griffiths had boasted that he had taken the painter's sweetheart away from him and the painter had then struck Thomas Griffiths on the jaw with his fist.

At the trial, the prosecution admitted that Thomas Griffiths might have been 'rather too cock-a-hoop' over his success in taking the girl from the painter that hit him.

The painter had been keeping company with the girl for about four years, but in March 1940 the girl had started to see Thomas Griffiths.

The court heard that on 23 May 1940 the painter had met the girl and had asked her to tell Thomas Griffiths not to open his mouth too much, 'because I don't want my name bandied about'. It was heard that Thomas Griffiths had apparently said something to someone about the ease with which he had taken the girl away from the painter.

Then, on the Saturday night, 25 May 1940, at about 10.04pm, it was heard that the painter had passed Thomas Griffiths and the girl outside the girl’s home where they were talking. The painter then crossed over the street and the girl said that she could hear Thomas Griffiths and the painter in a heated conversation and then heard a thud, and said that when she ran round she saw Thomas Griffiths on the ground and the painter bending over him. She said that she then crossed the road and the painter said to her, 'I wasn't having him talking to me like that'.

Thomas Griffiths was then carried off to a house and the painter then apologised to the girl saying, 'I hit him, and I'm sorry'.

The painter then went to the police station and reported that an accident had happened to Thomas Griffiths. He said, 'We have been fighting and I knocked him out and he hasn't come round again'.

The painter later made a statement in which he admitted striking Thomas Griffiths with his left fist on the jaw, adding that he had previously asked Thomas Griffiths what he meant by spreading rumours about the girl and him, the painter. He said, 'I just meant to talk things over with him and I lost my temper and struck him'.

The judge noted that neighbours had said that the incident had been a drunken brawl, but the judge said that there was no evidence of that and that both men had been perfectly sober.

When the judge summed up he said, 'You can implicitly believe this young man's word as to what happened during the incident', praising his honesty in describing the incident for which there were no other direct witnesses.

The jury returned a not guilty verdict without leaving the box and the judge said, 'I entirely agree, and I am very glad'.

Thomas Griffiths was an apprentice cadet in the Merchant Service and had lived in Dorbett Drive in Crosby. He had been studying for his second mate's certificate at the time.


see Liverpool Daily Post - Tuesday 09 July 1940, p5

see Evening Despatch - Monday 08 July 1940, p6

see Liverpool Evening Express - Friday 31 May 1940, p4

see Liverpool Echo - Tuesday 28 May 1940, p6

see Manchester Evening News - Monday 08 July 1940, p3

see Birmingham Mail - Monday 08 July 1940, p6

see Liverpool Echo - Friday 14 June 1940