Friday, 9 September 2016

The Flat Iron Murder

When a man battered the caretaker of a block of flats to death with an iron he continued to sleep next to her body every day for eighteen days.

On 18th March 1950 police officers forced their way into a locked basement flat at 6 Victoria Road in Waterloo due to the caretaker, Catherine Cassidy, not having been seen for a few weeks. They found the decomposing body of Miss Cassidy slumped in a chair and a copy of the Liverpool Echo newspaper, dated 28th February of that year.

The next day officers detained a 68 year old man named Charles Kimmance at Alexandra Dock. As he was approached he said 'I know what its for, its for Miss Cassidy, I can stop worrying now'. At the station Kimmance, who had been lodging with Cassidy for about two years, made a full confession to killing her with a flat iron and admitted having slept there every night for a fortnight afterwards knowing she was dead.

When Kimmance appeared at a committal hearing on 13th April  he saluted the examining magistrate. A pathologist confirmed that the injuries were consistent with being hit with an iron and that the blows had been very severe. A detective said that Kimmance hardly stopped talking as he was being taken to the police station after his arrest. 

On 14th June Kimmance appeared at St George's Hall where Dr Francis Brisby from Walton Gaol that he was prone to impaired mental capacity due to a seizure that was suffered five years earlier. A consultant psychiatrist from Walton Hospital said his brain was capable of violent reactions and at the time of the killing, he would not have known that what he was doing was wrong.

A statement was read out from Kimmance that he had made on his arrest. It said that he had been concerned about Cassidy's drinking and when he tried to seize a ten shilling note from her she hit him with a piece of wood. It went on to say 'The blood went to my head, I got a flat iron and smashed her on the head with it. She said something and I clouted her again. Every night up to two nights ago I went back to her but she was just the same'.

Kimmance was found guilty but insane and ordered to be detained during the King's pleasure.

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