Unsolved Murders

John Rawlings

Age: 48

Sex: male

Date: 17 Aug 1920

Place: Albion Street, Anstey, Leicester

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

John Rawlings was killed on 14 August 1920 following a quarrel

A 22-year-old concrete labourer who had lived in George Street in Anstey was tried for his manslaughter but acquitted.

John Rawlings was a labourer and farm hand from Cropstone.

John Rawlings had been to the Hare and Hounds public house in Anstey on 14 August 1920 with some other people.

It was said that at about 10pm the shoe hand was so drunk that he could not walk by himself and that when John Rawlings passed him after leaving the pub there was some conversation between them and they had a quarrel and the shoe hand took off his coat and threw it to a girl who was standing nearby. However, no blows were struck.

They then walked off along the street and a short while later the concrete labourer came along and asked, 'What is all this about', and when the shoe hand told him that John Rawlings had said that he had not done his 'bit', the concrete labourer was said to have said, 'Hit the ____' or something of that sort.

It was said that they all then went up Albion Street where it was alleged that the concrete labourer struck John Rawlings and knocked him down.

John Rawlings received a fractured skull and a broken nose and it was said that the blow must have been a very severe one.

A woman friend of the shoe hand said that she saw John Rawlings fall, but did not see who struck him, but noted that it was not the shoe hand and said that she heard another woman, who was not called to give evidence at the inquest or trial say that she saw another of the men present do it.

The shoe hand said that he had been to the Hare and Hounds Hotel at about 8pm and remained there until about 10pm when he left with a couple of people and that shortly after John Rawlings passed him and they started talking about the good time they had had and he put his arm round John Rawlings's neck. However, he said that having walked some distance a quarrel began, and he threw off his coat but that no blows were struck.

He said that they continued walking along into Albion Street where the concrete labourer came up and asked what the matter was and that he said to him, 'This man says I have not done my bit'. He said that the concrete labourer then tried to get him to come away and said then that the concrete worker's right arm shot out, but that he didn't see what it hit or see John Rawlings fall. He said that people then moved on to one side and someone said, 'Get away, give him (John Rawlings) fresh air'. The shoe hand noted that by that time his quarrel with John Rawlings had subsided.

The shoe hand said that the concrete worker then again tried to get him to come away.

The shoe hand was noted to have had a black eye after the occurrence, even though he said that he had only been a peaceful spectator.

A woman said that she saw the concrete worker strike John Rawlings and then saw John Rawlings fall backwards on his head. She said that the shoe hand did not strike a blow and said that she then said to the concrete labourer, 'You bad pig'. She said that the concrete labourer then helped to move John Rawlings to the other side of the road.

The concrete labourer said that he had served three years in the Army, all of it being in England and said that when he had met John Rawlings and the shoe hand, he had been quite sober. 

He said that he heard the shoe hand say, 'Who has not been in the army? I will give you not been in the army'. He said that because John Rawlings and the shoe hand were quarrelling that he went in between them and put out his arms and said that John Rawlings then went back a few yards and then fell onto the kerb.

The concrete labourer denied that he had said, 'Don't shout out my name, tell them he was drunk and fell'. He added that he was still with John Rawlings an hour and a half after he fell.

At his trial, the concrete labourers defence said that the concrete labourer was a peacemaker and that all he had done was to separate John Rawlings and the shoe hand.

At the trial the concrete labourer was found not guilty and discharged.


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


see Leicester Daily Post - Tuesday 26 October 1920

see Leicester Daily Post - Thursday 19 August 1920