Unsolved Murders

Peter Lomax

Age: 6

Sex: male

Date: 1 Aug 1953

Place: Leeds-Liverpool Canal, Cockshott Bridge, Barnoldswick

Peter Lomax was found in the Leeds-Liverpool Canal near Cockshott Bridge in Barnoldswick on the morning of Saturday 1 August 1953.

He had lived in Vicarage Road in Barnoldswick and had been missing from his home since Thursday 29 June 1953 after wandering away from his father.

An open verdict was returned at his inquest and when the Coroner summed up he said that there was nothing to indicate that any other person had been involved in his death.

The inquest heard that Peter Lomax had been with his father on the Thursday 29 June 1953 by a hen pen off Wellhouse Road in Barnoldswick who had been talking to a friend and that whilst his father was occupied at about 6.30pm he had strayed away.

His father said that Peter Lomax usually did what he was told but that on that occasion he did not. He said that it was only a couple of minutes before he realised that Peter Lomax was out of sight and that he immediately rushed off after him in the direction of the gas works but said that he thought that Peter Lomax must have gone off in the other direction up Wellhouse Road. He said that after he could find no trace of Peter Lomax near the gas works he went home to see if he could find him there, but could not.

Following his disappearance a huge search for him was carried out involving about 500 people which continued until about 10.30pm and then continued the following day. It was not until late on the Friday that it was decided to begin dragging operations in the canal.

It was noted that many of the searchers came from the Rolls-Royce factory in Barnoldswick where Peter Lomax's father worked. The management had appealed for volunteers over the works inter-communication system.

Many of the searchers brought in cars with which they transported searchers to outlying districts.

Peter Lomax had been seen by a number of people shortly beforehand near Cockshott Bridge.

His father said that later in the evening he saw a man who told him that he had seen Peter Lomax by the railway station. The man, who was employed by Wimpeys on the Coates Housing Estate in Barnoldswick, said that after speaking to Peter Lomax's father he had gone back towards Barnoldswick via the railway station and on to the Post Office where he saw Peter Lomax again by the railway station. However, he said that Peter Lomax kept running in front of him and said that when he told him to go back to his father Peter Lomax took no notice.

Another woman who lived in Kelbrook Road in Barnoldswick said that she had seen a small boy coming up the step to her upper flat but said that she tried to send him away telling him that his mother was not there, but said that he insisted in trying to push past her. She said that she thought that he had come to the estate to play with the other children and later saw him crossing the road and walking towards the Modern school.

When the Coroner asked the woman whether she thought that the boy had been lost, she said that she didn't, noting that many children came from different parts of the town to play with the children who lived on the estate.

A farm worker who worked at Dye House Farm said that he had been walking past Lower House Farm when he saw a boy on the path leading to the canal and said that the last that he saw of him was when he was running down the field to the bridge.

Peter Lomax's inquest which was held on Monday 3 August 1953 returned a verdict of Found Drowned. His post mortem stated that his death was due to asphyxia from drowning.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Nelson Leader - Friday 07 August 1953

see Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Saturday 01 August 1953

see Burnley Express - Wednesday 05 August 1953