Unsolved Murders

Thomas Quinton

Age: 24

Sex: male

Date: 17 Nov 1951

Place: Moorside Bungalow, Tideswell, Wardlow, Buxton, Derbyshire

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Thomas Quinton was shot by his brother at his brother's house, Moorside Bungalow in Tideswell, Buxton on 17 November 1951.

His 20-year-old brother was tried for his murder but acquitted. He claimed that he had shot him in self-defence.

The jury returned their verdict at the direction of the judge.

When the brother made a statement, he said, 'Well you see, he told me it was either me or him next time we meet. It started a long time ago. We have had quarrels before. It is the first time I have seen him tonight for about eight weeks. I was at home tonight when he came in. I spoke to him but he did not answer. I saw he had had some drink, so I told him to get out. He went outside and then came back. Whilst he was outside I got the gun from my bedroom, then I went outside and fired two shots to frighten him away. I put another one in, went into the house in case he came back. He rushed into the house, I knew he meant me so I shot him. I then went down to the village to phone the police and the ambulance When I asked the woman to phone for the police, I went back home. I got my jacket and went to another bungalow. If I had not done him tonight, he would have done me'.

The doctor was called to Moorside Bungalow just before midnight on 17 November 1951 and said that when he arrived he saw the body of Thomas Quinton lying on his back in the kitchen with his head under the couch and his right arm extended outwards and his left arm by his side. He said that when he examined his body he found that he was dead and that he had a wound in his chest.

The pathologist that carried out the post mortem examination on Thomas Quinton's body at 11.15pm on 18 November 1951 at Buxton Mortuary said that he found that Thomas Quinton had a a single injury to his chest and no other injuries. He said that three inches from the mid line of the chest at the junction of the seventh and eighth ribs on the right side there was an area measuring three inches by four inches that was finely tattooed by unburnt particles of powder and pierced by pellets in the centre of which was an irregular gaping wound measuring one inch by three quarters of an inch.

The pathologist said that when he carried out an internal examination of Thomas Quinton's body he found much bruising of the muscular tissue in same region and a small portion of gristle structure of the seventh and eighth ribs missing and that in the substance of the muscle there he found two pellets. He then said that in direct line with the wound there was a gaping wound of the liver measuring three inches by three inches and that on the back surface of the liver there was a large gaping star like wound measuring four and a half inches by four and a half inches. He said that the main vein to the heart from the abdomen as lacerated and that when he opened the vein up above the laceration to the right upper chamber of the heart and in that chamber he said that he found the missing portion of the gristle of the seventh and eight ribs.

The pathologist noted that there was a strong smell of stale alcoholic drink about his body and in his stomach.

He said that he also recovered three more pellets in his left chest cavity.

He said that Thomas Quinton's cause of death was shock following haemorrhage  from laceration of the inferior venacava due to penetration of the vein by a portion of the gristle structure of the seventh and eighth ribs and that the whole thing was caused by a gunshot wound.

The pathologist noted that he sent a registered package containing four or five of the pellets that he found in Thomas Quinton's body to the detective chief inspector of the Forensic Laboratory Nottingham and kept four other pellets in a bottle, marked as exhibit 2 at the trial.

The police photographer that took several photographs at Moorside Bungalow said that the photograph of the room was illuminated by the flash bulb of his camera and noted that ordinarily the room was very dark, illuminated ordinarily by a candle.

A scrap dealer who lived at The Dale in Stoney Middleton said that he had known Thomas Quinton's family for some ten or twelve years , noting that Thomas Quinton's brother was the younger brother of the family and that there was also a third elder brother and a sister.

He said that on the evening of Saturday 17 November 1951 that he and Thomas Quinton's brother went out to the pictures, leaving there at about 8.10pm after which they went to a public house for a drink where they saw Thomas Quinton's father and had a small bottle of beer. He said that as far as he could remember that Thomas Quinton's brother had two half pint bottles of beer in each of the three public houses that they visited and that they then went back to the first public house that they had visited earlier and had met Thomas Quinton's father.

The scrap dealer said that then each had one half pint bottle of beer each there and noted that Thomas Quinton's father who was still there had had a fairish of drink.

He said that Thomas Quinton's brother was quite normal.

He said that they all then went home together in a taxi and got back to Moorside Bungalow between 10.30pm and 10.45pm, noting that Thomas Quinton's mother and his sister were in the house when they arrived.

He said that as far as he knew tht Thomas Quinton's father was put straight to bed and that after that they all sat about talking in the kitchen.

He said that later on Thomas Quinton and his brother, the scarp dealer's brother, then came into the house, it being about 15 minutes after they had themselves arrived.

He said that although he didn't take a lot of notice, he thought that Thomas Quinton looked as though he had had a nice little drink.

The scrap dealer said that when Thomas Quinton first walked in he asked where his father was and then asked his mother for something to eat and then started to have his supper.

He said that after Thomas Quinton had had his supper that Thomas Quinton lit a cigarette for himself and threw one at his brother and said, 'Here you are, get this if you want it'.

The scarp dealer said that he then told the people there that he would have to be going as it was getting late and hat he left.

He said that he could not say that he heard anything lese that Thomas Quinton had said to his brother. He noted that wen he left that his brother was still in the house.

The scrap dealer said that at about 12.30am 18 November 1951 that he was sitting in his house when Thomas Quinton's brother walked in. He said that he sat down quite normal and said, 'I have come down, I have shot my brother'. He said that he then made Thomas Quinton's brother some coffee and said, 'Surely you have not done a thing like that'. He said that he let the thing rest there where it was as his father as in. He said that about ten minutes later the police arrived and took Thomas Quinton's brother away.

The scrap dealers brother said that he had known Thomas Quinton and his family for about ten years and that on the evening of 17 November 1951 that he went out with Thomas Quinton. He said that they started off at about 7.30pm and went to the Bulls Head at Foolow where they stayed until closing time at 10pm. He said that he could not say how much Thomas Quinton had had to drink, saying, 'I have not the slightest idea'. He said that as they had both had a drop that they could not notice each other’s conditions.

The scrap dealers brother said that after closing time that they went back to Thomas Quinton's home, walking there from the Bulls head public house.

He said that when he got there that he saw Thomas Quinton's sister, Thomas Quinton's mother, Thomas Quinton's brother and his own brother. However, he said that he didn't take much notice of what was going off when he arrived at Moorside Bungalow but said that he didn't hear any words pass between Thomas Quinton and his brother.

The scrap dealers brother said that he and Thomas Quinton then left the house with him noting that he didn't hear Thomas Quinton's brother say that he was going to fetch something.

He said that when they got outside the house that Thomas Quinton left him two or three minutes later and that when he later got to his house he saw Thomas Quinton's brother there.

He said that he didn't remember Thomas Quinton's brother saying anything to him at his house and that he believed that the police later collected him.

Thomas Quinton's sister said that on the evening of 17 November 1951 that she was at home with her mother at Moorside Bungalow when Thomas Quinton's brother and the scrap dealer came in at about 10.30pm bringing her father with them. She said that her father was drunk and that he was taken straight to bed and that she, her mother, Thomas Quinton's brother  and the scrap dealer were left sitting in the kitchen talking.

She said that at about 11pm Thomas Quinton and the scarp delaer's brother then came in. She said that Thomas Quinton had not been living at home for about two months and that that was the first time that she had seen him during that time. She said that Thomas Quinton was drunk, but was not quite as bad as her father was.

She said that when Thomas Quinton had left home about two months earlier that there had been a quarrel between him and the other brother. She said that after Thomas Quinton had been there some time he gave cigarettes to the scrap dealer and his brother and also threw one at his brother who she said, 'Ta'. She said however that Thomas Quinton said, 'Never mind Ta I have not forgot the night what happened before I went away'. 

She said that Thomas Quinton then said to the scarp dealer and his brother, 'Come on let's have some supper, take no notice of him, (meaning his brother) what sits there, he's nobody'. She noted that Thomas Quinton was giving black looks across at his brother. She said that Thomas Quinton then said to his brother, 'If I don't have you tonight, I will have you in the morning'.

She sad that her other brother then got up and went into the spare room and that she followed him. She said that he had gone there to get the gun and said that whilst he did so that she tried to wake her father up but said that she could not do so.

She said that she didn't see her brother load the gun said that she saw him then go into the kitchen with the gun pointed downwards noting that the scrap dealer and his brother were both there when he did so. She said that her brother then told Thomas Quinton to get out, at which point she said that the scrap dealer was going out of the house.

She said that the scarp dealer's brother then said to Thomas Quinton, 'Lets have you out' and took Thomas Quinton outside.

She said that her mother was at that time also in the room and that she followed them out and stood near the door outside.

She said that her brother then said, 'Come on, let's go and see if we can frighten him away', and said that she then followed him outside the house, noting that hr had the gun with him. She said that her brother then asked her mother, 'Where is Tommy' and said that her mother pointed across from the house. she said that her brother then asked her mother if she was sure and after she told him that she was, that her brother then said to her, 'I will shoot down the garden' and then fired a shot, but not in the direction that her mother had pointed out to him.  She said that her brother then said, 'That should have frightened him' and she said that she replied, 'Yes'.  Thomas Quinton's sister then said that her brother said to her, 'I have no more shots left, will you go and fetch me some', and said that she then went and fetched him about eight or nine shots out of the spare room and gave them to him. She said that her brother then said, 'I will put another in and frighten him away’ and said that he then fired again in the opposite direction to the first shot. She said that her brother then said to her, 'That should have frightened him away if anything will' and that they then went back into the kitchen.

Thomas Quinton's sister said that whilst her other brother had been firing the shots that her mother had been stood outside near the door. She said that her brother was about to put the gun down, whilst saying, 'I think he should have gone now, I will put it down', when her mother came in and said, 'Tommy's coming'.

She said that Thomas Quinton then came rushing into the house, and then paused for a minute and then made straight for his brother when his brother said, 'I don't want to shoot you, but if you come any closer I shall have to'. She said that he was holding the gun whilst he said that, noting that he had not actually put the gun down since he had fired the shots earlier. She said that he had applied the safety catch and that when Thomas Quinton came back in, he altered it and worked the bolt.

She also said that Thomas Quinton said, 'Before you have time to pull the trigger, I will have you down on your back and you won’t have time to'. However, she said that her brother then shot Thomas Quinton.

Thomas Quinton's sister said that about two months before that Thomas Quinton had come to the house and had made a row during which she said that her father then got a big stick and hit Thomas Quinton. She said that Thomas Quinton then said that he was the master of the family and picked the lamp up and broke it and then said that he would break the lot up if he had chance. She said that he also broke a chair as well. She said that she then lit a candle which Thomas Quinton then picked up and threw down.

She said that Thomas Quinton then told her and her parents to get out of the house and that he then turned them all out and then bolted the door so that they could not get in.

She said that she was frightened of Thomas Quinton and said that they all stood outside until her other brother came back who told them that he could not get the police as the person whose house the only phone in the village was, was out, noting that there was no telephone kiosk in the village. She said that she and her mother then went off for the police, leaving her father and brother outside the door.

She said that they were not able to get the police and that on their way back they mat her father and brother at the four crossroads at the top of Wardlow, noting that her father was bleeding on his head. She said that they then decided to spend the night under a haystack at the top of Wardlow, but said that as it was raining heavily that she and her mother and father decided to go back home to see if they could get in, but said that her brother stayed as he was frightened, noting that he stayed the night under the haystack. However, she said that they were not able to get back into the house that night as Thomas Quinton had locked the door.

She said that the next time that she saw Thomas Quinton after that incident was on the night of 17 November 1951. She noted that both her mother and father and herself were all frightened of Thomas Quinton, and said that she was frightened of what Thomas Quinton might do to her.

Thomas Quinton's mother said that Thomas Quinton had left Moorside Bungalow about two months before 17 November 1951, but came back on that date in the evening. She said that when he came back, only herself and her daughter where in the house. She said that earlier on her other sone and the scrap dealer came into the e house after having been out to the pictures together and that her husband then came in and went to bed. She said that Thomas Quinton then came in with the scrap dealers brother and said that when they came in, Thomas Quinton sat down and threw a cigarette at his brother whilst at the same time giving him black looks across the table. She said that her son said, 'Ta, thank you' and that Thomas Quinton replied, saying, 'You will say ta before the night's out'.

She said that her other son then got up from the table and asked Thomas Quinton, 'Why have you got the spite for me, I have done you no harm', and said that Thomas Quinton replied, 'Never mind I have got it in for you for what happened before I went away'.

Thomas Quinton's mother said that she then tried to pacify and got him some supper.

She said that Thomas Quinton later said to her other son, 'You know, if I don't have you tonight I shall have you in the morning'. She said that her other son was trembling and frightened.

She said that she tried to cool Thomas Quinton down, but said that he said, 'I don't care I am going to have him tonight and I mean having him'.

She said that her other son then jumped up and said, 'If this is going to be it we might s well have it out tonight'.

Thomas Quinton's mother said that she again tried to calm Thomas Quinton down but said that he said, 'I don't care I have come for trouble and I am going to have trouble'.

She said that her other son then went for the gun and then came back with it in his hand and said that he stood in the bedroom with the gun and said, 'Are you going to go out, it's no good I shall have to make you go out'.

She said that the scrap dealer had by that time gone, but that his brother was still i the room when her other son produced the gun. She said that her other  son stood in the doorway of the bedroom with the gun pointed towards the floor and said that Thomas Quinton hen jumped up and made for the pantry door as though he was trying to look for something. She said that the scrap dealer's brother then said, 'Come on Tommy let's have you out'. However, she said that Thomas Quinton would not go and so the scrap dealer's brother took hold of him and took him out.

She said that she then went side out too and said that she saw the scarp dealer's brother go off towards the lavatory and Thomas Quinton go off the other way.  She said that her other son came out and asked, 'Mother where is our Tommy?', noting that he still had the gun with him. She said that she told him that Thomas Quinton had gone across the fields in front of the house. However, she noted that that was not the way that Thomas Quinton had gone, saying that she said that as she did not want him to know the real way that he had gone. She said that her other son then said to her, 'Mother I am going to frighten him away, if I can frighten him away, I shall do'. She said that her other son then said, 'I think he is in the lavatory' and then fired his gun in that direction.

Thomas Quinton’s mother said that Thomas Quinton then sent his sister off to get some more shots and said that she did so and that her other son then fired again don the garden and then followed his sister back into the house. She said that she stayed outside the house and that when she went towards the place where the coalhouse used to be that she saw Thomas Quinton coming towards her on his hands and knees from that direction around the house. She said that she then shouted out to her other son, 'Hi-up there's our Tommy coming, watch him he's coming in'. She said that she continued to stop outside and said that when she told her other son that Thomas Quinton was coming that Thomas Quinton then started to rush for the house. She said that as he did so that she took hold of his arm to try and stop him getting into the house and that as she did so, he said to her, 'It's no good mother I'm going to have him'.

Thomas Quinton's mother said that she stayed outside and said that the next thing that she heard was a shot from inside, noting that it took place a while after Thomas Quinton had gone back into the house, about five minutes after. She said that she didn't go into the house when she first heard the shot as she was frightened and shaken and that she didn't go back in for some time, but said that the first thing that she saw when she did go back in was Thomas Quinton dropping to the floor. She said that her other son was in the corner against the partition. She said that as soon as she went in that her other son then jumped up on the table as he could not get out any other way and said, 'Mother I am going for the police, and ambulance and the doctor, I shan't be long before I am back'. She said that she then saw the gun on the floor at the side of Thomas Quinton.

A woman that lived at Elm Cottage in Wardlow said that she knew Thomas Quinton's brother quite well and said that she was sitting in her house at about 11.45pm on 17 November 1951 when she heard a knocking at the door. She said that when she called out, 'Who's there?', she heard Thomas Quinton's voice and said that he asked, 'I want you to get the phone for me'.  She said that when she opened the door she saw that it was Thomas Quinton's brother and said that he said, 'I want you to phone for the police and an ambulance, I have shot my brother'. She said that she would not say that he was normal and said that he seemed frightened and agitated. She said that he was definitely sober and said that she then made the calls for him. She said that when she asked, 'Where have you shot your brother?' Thomas Quinton's brother replied, 'In the body, just below the heart'.

A police sergeant that was called out said that he went to a bungalow in Stoney Middleton where he interviewed Thomas Quinton's brother. He said that at about 1.15am he was in charge of Thomas Quinton's brother in  motor car near his house and said that Thomas Quinton's brother said to him, 'Has the ambulance took him away yet?' and when he told him 'No', he asked, 'Is he dead yet?' and he told him that he was. He said that Thomas Quinton's brother then said, 'Mother and Dad will be happy for the rest of their lives now'.

When a firearms expert analysed the evidence, he concluded that Thomas Quinton had probably been shot from a distance of about 6ft 6in.

The firearms expert was the detective chief inspector of the Home Office Laboratory at Nottingham and was responsible for all firearms investigations at the laboratory.

He said at between 20 and 22 November 1951 that he received the following:

  • .410 Gun. (exhibit 3).
  • A cartridge case labelled 'cartridge case extracted from gun'. (exhibit 4).
  • Two spent cartridges labelled 'Found outside prisoner's home' (exhibit 5).
  • Seven cartridges labelled 'Found in prisoner's possession'. (exhibit 6).
  • A bundle of clothing of Thomas Quinton, (exhibit 7), consisting of a pullover, shirt, belt, trousers, stockings and boots.
  • Bottle containing four pellets. (exhibit 2).

The firearms expert said that he examined the gun, exhibit 2, and found that it was a .410 of an inch gauge, single barrel, bolt action and of English manufacturer. He said that the overall length of the gun was 45 1/2 inches and that the length of the barrel was 25 1/2 inches and the distance from the muzzle to the trigger was 31 inches. He said that there was no safety catch on the weapon. He said that the barrel of the gun was fouled as a result of firing. He said that the gun was in good condition, both mechanically and generally and that it would not have gone off accidently. He said that he found that the trigger pressure on the gun was 2 1/2 pounds which he said was average for that type of gun.

The gun expert said that exhibit 4, the cartridge case that had been extracted from the gun was an Eley .410 2 1/2 inch long case and that he was satisfied that it had been fired from the gun presented him, exhibit 3, stating that he deduced that from microscopic examination of the case.

When the gun expert examined exhibit 5, the two gun cartridges found outside the bungalow, he said that they were both Eley .410 2 1/2 inch cartridge cases and that he deduced that one of them had been fired from the gun exhibit 3 and that the other had not.

He said that the seven cartridge cases, exhibit 7, were all also Eley .410 cartridges and that they were loaded with No.5 shot.

He also noted that the pellets extracted from Thomas Quinton's body, exhibit 2, were also No.5 shot.

The gun expert said that when he examined the clothing, exhibit 7, a shirt and a pullover, he found that they showed certain damage to the right front which consisted of typical gunshot damage forming an irregular shaped hole measuring approximately one inch by one and a half inches, together with twelve small puncture holes in the immediate vicinity, noting that they formed a typical shotgun pellet pattern measuring two and a half to three inches in diameter. He said that when he then carried out firing tests with the gun, exhibit 3, using Eley 2 1/2 inch cartridges loaded with No.5 shot that he concluded that the damage to the shirt could have been caused from a shot from that gun fired at a range of six feet and six inches, measured from the muzzle of the gun.

It was not clear why the judge directed the jury to find Thomas Quinton's brother not guilty of murder and manslaughter, but the jury returned their verdict after a twelve-minute retirement.


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


see National Archives - ASSI 88/85, ASSI 13/265

see Coventry Evening Telegraph - Wednesday 20 February 1952

see Belfast Telegraph - Wednesday 20 February 1952