Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Mans One Year For Killing Two Decades Earlier

A man who killed a woman in the heat of the moment in 1950 was not brought to justice until he confessed twenty one years later. Even then, he was jailed for just a year.

In the early hours of 26th September 1950 a woman was found unconscious with head wounds on some wasteland off Great Newton Street. Aged between 35 and 45, she was taken to the Royal Infirmary and treated for a fractured skull and broken jaw never regained full consciousness. However before slipping way she did manage to mumble 'Annie Howard' to a police officer that was by her bedside.

Great Newton Street in 1960s (
Officers believed that that the woman's handbag was missing and that she had been struck on the head by a blunt instrument. A search of the area found two bloodstained bricks nearby. Enquiries established that she had been seen that evening with a man whose identity couldn't be established and that he may have been foreign.

Twenty One years later, in July 1971, a man named William Collins went into a newspaper office in Manchester and confessed to the crime. When interviewed by police, he said that Annie had tried taking money from his pocket and he hit her with a half brick. He described the incident as taking place in a dark drunken moment and said he had been having nightmares about it ever since.

Collins, who was now 54 years old and lived at Mallowdale Close in Hulme, was charged with murder but at Liverpool Crown Court on 7th October that year the prosecution accepted his plea of guilty to manslaughter. He was then sentenced to one years imprisonment, Mr Justice Caulfield telling Collins that he believed he would be happier to serve punishment for his crime than continue with his guilty secret.

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