Unsolved Murders

David Michael

Age: 2

Sex: male

Date: 30 Apr 1960

Place: Sholebroke Avenue, Leeds

David Michael was killed after having been hit with a metal-studded leather belt.

His 22-year-old mother was tried at the Leeds Assizes on Saturday 30 April 1960 but acquitted after the judge upheld the submission of the defence that there was no case to go to the jury, saying that the evidence did not prove the charge of murder or the lesser charge of manslaughter.

It was said that she had struck him with the metal-studded leather belt and knocked him over.

His death was due to a head injury that caused compression of the brain.

David Michael was found by a doctor at his house in Sholebroke Avenue, Leeds on the night of Friday 29 April 1960 after he was called by the mother.

The doctor said that he found David Michael dead with numerous bruises and abrasions on his body after which he notified the police.

When a police surgeon examined David Michael's body he determined that his death was not from natural causes.

It was heard that David Michael's mother had admitted to having struck David Michael with the studded leather belt earlier in the day and to have later deliberately knocked him down, causing him to strike his head on a settee shortly after which David Michael collapsed and died.

However, a pathologist that was called by the prosecution said that every one of nine bruises found on David Michael's head could have been caused accidently. He said, 'There was nothing about any one of the nine bruises to suggest that they had been caused by blows or violence inflicted by another person'. It was then heard that the pathologist could not eliminate the possibility that David Michael's death was entirely accidental which it was heard was the real crux of the case.

After hearing the evidence, the judge told the jury, 'There is really no evidence from which you can satisfactorily, in keeping with your consciences, say that this woman is guilty of murder. In those circumstances I direct you to find her not guilty'.

The prosecution alleged that the mother had hated David Michael and had killed him.

David Michael's mother had been a housewife.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see National Archives - ASSI 45/428, DPP 2/3081

see Torbay Express and South Devon Echo - Thursday 17 March 1960

see Halifax Evening Courier - Saturday 30 April 1960

see Coventry Evening Telegraph - Wednesday 13 April 1960

see Daily Mirror - Monday 02 May 1960

see Birmingham Daily Post - Monday 02 May 1960

see Halifax Evening Courier - Thursday 17 March 1960

see Halifax Evening Courier - Saturday 30 April 1960

see Torbay Express and South Devon Echo - Saturday 30 April 1960

see Leicester Evening Mail - Saturday 30 April 1960