Unsolved Murders

Joseph Patrick Creamer

Age: 3

Sex: male

Date: 8 Aug 1948

Place: Dutton Street, Cheetham, Manchester

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Joseph Patrick Creamer was found hanged in a disused bombed warehouse near to his home in Dutton Street, Cheetham on Sunday 8 August 1948. An 11-year-old boy was charged with his murder, but later acquitted.

He was found hanging by a piece of electric light flex from a first-floor joist of the disused warehouse clothed only in his vest. His body was found by three schoolboys.

His inquest heard that his death was due to asphyxia and that a mark a quarter of an inch wide encircled his neck.

Joseph Creamer had lived near to the disused warehouse in Carnarvon Street. He was last seen alive near his home about 45-minutes before his body was discovered.

When the police first found him they said that they suspected foul play and said that they were looking for two men that were seen in the area to come forward, saying that they thought that they could assist with their investigation.

The first man was described as being aged about 47, 5ft 4in to 5ft 5in tall, of slim build, with a round face, dark moustache and ill-shaven. He was said to have been dressed in a black jacket, dirty dark brown trousers, a white scarf, black shoes and a grey and brown striped cap. He was said to have been seen near the warehouse at about 5pm.

The second man was described as being about 40 years old, 5ft 4in tall, thick set, clean shaven, with a thin pale face and dark hair. He was said to have worn a torn dark brown or navy-blue suit and shoes and the knees of his trousers were badly worn and shiny. He was said to have been looking at a newspaper which he had held close to his face, indicating that he might have had bad eyesight.

An 11-year-old boy was charged with his murder but later discharged after it was said that it was impossible to prove malice and that it might have been an accident.

It was reported that when the police questioned the boy at police headquarters, they asked him, 'I understand that you say that on Sunday you lassoed Joey in the building and he fell into the hole?', and the 11-year-old boy replied, 'Yes' and then made a statement.

The 11-year-old boy was later discharged on Friday 27 August 1948 after the prosecution stated that Joseph Creamer's death might have been due to an accident and that it was impossible to prove malice. The stipendiary magistrate said that if the accused boy had told the police the truth in the first place that he might not have been charged.

It was heard that the boy had first given the police a description of a man that he alleged to have seen walking away from the warehouse but in a second statement he said that after taking Joey to the warehouse Joey started crying when he caught his leg on a board and that he then lassoed Joey with a cable which he fastened round a nail. He said that Joey then went backwards and fell down the hole. He said that he tried to pull him back up but couldn't.

Joseph Creamer's father had been in prison at the time serving 18 months for larceny but was released from Strangeways Gaol on Saturday 14 August 1948, accompanied by three detectives, to attend his son's funeral. He had been in Stafford Gaol at the time of his son's death but was transferred to Strangeways Gaol the day after. He was allowed to enter his home to see his wife before the funeral procession moved off. He accompanied the cortege, travelling at the rear in a police car. Hundreds of women and children were reported to have surged around the two funeral cars which were heavily covered in wreaths while many others watched along the route to Moston Cemetery where Joseph Creamer was buried.

Joseph Creamer's death was one of three that were ascribed to the effects of the moon in Lancashire during the year.


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


see Belfast News-Letter - Friday 27 August 1948

see Staffordshire Sentinel - Monday 09 August 1948

see Liverpool Echo - Saturday 14 August 1948

see Lincolnshire Echo - Monday 09 August 1948

see Aberdeen Press and Journal - Friday 27 August 1948

see Gloucester Citizen - Thursday 12 August 1948

see Gloucester Citizen - Wednesday 11 August 1948

see Yorkshire Evening Post - Wednesday 18 August 1948

see Dundee Courier - Monday 09 August 1948

see The Scotsman - Thursday 12 August 1948

see Aberdeen Press and Journal - Thursday 12 August 1948

see Dundee Courier - Thursday 12 August 1948