A 17 year old Bootle youth sentenced to death after stabbing a man whilst drunk was reprieved on account of his young age.
On the evening of 19th September 1885 Joseph Flynn, a 17 year old boiler scaler had too much to drink and decided to challenge anyone of his own size to a fight. The first person he saw was 25 year old carter named Edwin Pearson who had been to a dancing class in Balliol Road.
Pearson was ready for thee challenge and both men took the coats off, but they were separated by friends. Flynn walked away but without warning he took a pocket knife out and turned back, lashing out indiscriminately before plunging it into Pearson's chest.
Pearson was taken to Bootle borough hospital where he died the following morning. Flynn was in a panic and asked a friend he came across to walk with him so as to avoid detection. At the corner of Derby Road and Church Street this youth left Flynn alone and he took a chance by returning to his home at Mann Street where he was apprehended there in the early hours.
At the inquest Flynn apologised for his actions, saying 'I was mad drunk and did not know what I was doing.' He was then committed to the next assizes, standing trial before Justice Wills on 16th November. The jury found him guilty with a strong recommendation for mercy on account of his youth, but Justice Wills said that 'never before was a more ferocious onslaught committed that led to the death of just one person.'
Saying he would forward the recommendation on, the judge then passed the death sentence in the normal form. It was however commuted to life imprisonment due to Flynn's young age.