Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Girl Killed On Way To Butchers

A ten year old girl was killed whilst on an errand for her mother in 1905 and her murderer was never caught.

At midnight on Saturday 28th October 1905 Elizabeth Peers of Wendell Street was given 6d by her mother to go to the butchers on Lodge Lane to buy some cooked pork. Her mother Elizabeth remained at home with her three brothers while her brick setter father William was out visiting his brother, having earlier had an argument with his wife.

Elizabeth never returned but the area was a lively neighbourhood and her mother assumed that she had just met some friends or gone to a relations. The following morning at 835am her body was found in an entry at the back of Cullen Street by William Wilson, a carter on his way to work in Edge Hill. However Mrs Peers at first wasn't concerned, instead saying how terrible it was that somebody had lost their daughter. It was only when her father enquired with relatives as to Elizabeth's whereabouts did they realise it could be their daughter who was dead.

Elizabeth's clothes were completely drenched by rain and her eyes and mouth were wide open. A post mortem revealed she died from the shock of being raped and gagged.  At the inquest, which was adjourned, the Coroner heard she was last seen in Longfellow Street and expressed his shock that plenty of children were allowed out at such a late hour. Her mother was in such a state of shock at her daughter's death that on 31st October, the day of the inquest, she knocked over a paraffin lamp which set fire to some of the furniture. Neighbours managed to drag her out of the house and extinguish the flames.

Elizabeth's funeral took place at St Clement's Church on 3rd November, and an estimated 30,000 people lined the streets to watch the procession to her burial place at Smithdown Road with many blinds remaining drawn. A wreath was sent by her Tiber Street school.

Several witnesses reported to police seeing a man in his late thirties with a dark moustache running from the entry at 1.30am but the killer of Elizabeth Peers was never found. On 22nd November the inquest was concluded with a verdict of wilful murder by persons unknown. The Coroner censured Elizabeth's parents for their 'unnatural conduct' on the night of the killing. 

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