Tuesday 27 December 2022

Blades Knifed to Death

A man with the surname of Blades was stabbed to death in a fight in 1917. His killer was guilty of manslaughter and gaoled for just four months.

On the evening of  3rd September that year Richard Griffiths, a West Indian seaman and Alfred Blades, a second engineer on a dock dredger, began quarrelling over game of dice in a pub in Stanhope Street. They went outside to fight and as Blades got the upper hand, Griffiths pulled out a knife with the aim of fending him off. 

Instead of stabbing Blades in the hand as intended, the knife punctured the stomach and he died soon afterwards at the Southern Hospital in Caryl Street (pictured). Griffiths, who lodged in Park Lane, immediately confessed to the killing when he was arrested. 

Blades, whose brother also lived in Liverpool and worked as a dock labourer, was buried in a public grave in Allerton Cemetery. An inquest returned a verdict of wilful murder and Griffiths was remanded to await his trial.

At the Liverpool Assizes on 2nd November Griffiths, who was aged twenty, appeared before Justice Sankey. His offer to plead guilty to manslaughter was accepted by Crown prosecutors. In his sentencing remarks the judge said it was not one of the more serious cases of manslaughter, but passed comment on Griffiths's origin by saying "Coloured men must realise they are not at liberty to use knives in this country".

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