On the afternoon of 26th February 1914 three year old Elizabeth Ann Spooner was found by a girl on her way home from school in the rear yard of her family home in Oliver Street, Edge Hill, the site of which is now occupied by Renshaw Napier foods. Her throat was cut and she was bleeding heavily, but still alive. Elizabeth's father Joseph Spooner, who was estranged from his wife Catherine, was arrested whilst still wearing blood stained clothes at a lodging house in nearby Upper Parliament Street. He was taken to Great George Street police station where he was charged with attempted murder.
In the early hours of the following morning Elizabeth died at the Royal Infirmary and Spooner, a dock labourer, had his charge increased to murder and he made his first appearance before the stipendiary magistrate at Liverpool City Police Court, showing no emotion during the brief proceedings.
Several other witnesses told how they had seen Spooner with Elizabeth and a shopkeeper said that they had been in her shop together to buy sweets. Detective Sergeant Arthur Jones told the court that on being charged Spooner had replied 'I don't know what made me do it. I threw the knife into the midden.' The jury returned a verdict of wilful murder against Spooner and he was committed to the assizes on a capital charge.
Spooner's guilty plea meant no motive was ever established for the killing, although the prosecution had suggested in preliminary hearings that by hurting his daughter it was a way of getting back at his wife. Spooner showed no emotion as he was led from the dock and on 14th May he was hanged at Walton by William Willis.