Unsolved Murders

James Dawson

Age: 46

Sex: male

Date: 22 Mar 1934

Place: Bashall Eaves, Clitheroe

Source: www.truecrimelibrary.com

James Dawson was shot with a piece of steel on 18 March 1934.

He was hit in the back as he walked home from an inn late at night along a dark country lane.

He didn’t notice at first because he had been out drinking but woke up the following day covered in blood and his sister then discovered the wound.

He died a few days later from gangrene and septicaemia on 22 March 1934.

He had said that he was walking home at about 9pm on the Sunday night when he saw, by the light of a passing car, a man at the entrance to Back Lane on Clitheroe Road in a gateway. He said that as he passed him, about 20 yards further on he heard a crack and then felt something strike him in the back. However, he said that he thought that somebody was joking and had thrown a stone at him and so he continued walking off home. He said that when he got home he had his supper, a hearty meal of roast pork, without saying anything about the incident, and then went to bed.

He said that he didn't hear the report of any gun.

The police said that hundreds of people were interviewed, including practically every resident in Bashall Eaves, and that they were interested in identifying the following people:

  • A broadly built man carrying a walking stick.
  • A man and a woman who had with them a farm dog.
  • A young man wearing an overcoat, and trilby hat, in company with a woman wearing a green coat.
  • A fairly tall man wearing a light brown overcoat, and trilby hat.

The bullet was extracted from him following an operation.

During their investigation the police searched hedges, ditches and pools over a wide area.

At his inquest in June 1934 the police said that they were of the opinion that he had been shot with a catapult. A policeman, who said that he had made a similar bullet to the one that had killed James Dawson in five minutes, said that if it had been fired from a rifle that it would have blown his shoulder off.

A doctor said that it was quite possible for a man to be shot through a limb or partly through the body and to scarcely realize that they had been injured.

However, the jury said that there was no evidence to show how the bullet had been fired and an open verdict was returned.


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


see Lancashire Evening Post - Tuesday 10 April 1934

see Leeds Mercury - Thursday 03 May 1934

see Sheffield Independent - Friday 23 March 1934

see Western Gazette - Friday 29 June 1934

see Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail - Monday 25 June 1934

see Dundee Evening Telegraph - Monday 25 June 1934