A drunk 'coaxed into a false confession with whisky', two 'framed' robbers and a cheating wife accused of killing her husband. These are the grisly ph
A drunk ‘coaxed into a false confession with whisky’, two ‘framed’ robbers and a cheating wife accused of killing her husband. These are the grisly photographs from British crime scenes from the early twentieth century – where people were savagely murdered and the perpetrators hanged for their crimes.
The extremely rare images give an insight into what the detectives at the time had to work with to solve these crimes. But most shockingly of all, there is still a debate surrounding some of the condemned who were hanged in the gallows for these murders and whether they were guilty or not. The death penalty was abolished in Britain in 1965, however arguments still rage to this day about its use as a punishment.
But do you think these early 20th century murderers were guilty?
Each photograph in this collection tells the story of a fascinating real-life British murder case – many of which still haunt and perplex true crime fans today.
The living room where Frances Levin was murdered in Manchester on July 19th, 1933, pictured is blood-soaked pillow that Levin was using to rest on.
The body of Beatrice Rimmer lies in her hallway (left) in the houss she lived inm in Wavertree, Liverpool (right) on the 20th August, 1951
The Dorset home of Frederick and Charlotte Bryant. Charlotte was hanged for the murder of her husband in 1936
The alleged false confession that led to the hanging of Manchester vagrant, William Burtoft
William Burtoft was a Manchester vagrant who was hanged for the murder of wealthy widow Frances Levin.
On a hot summer’s day on July 19th, 1933, Frances Levin took a nap in her living room after lunch.
At 2.30pm her maid Freda Phillips retired upstairs to complete her chores, leaving the back door open for air.
When she returned to the kitchen two hours later she made a grisly discovery. An iron bar lay on the floor with a bloodied shirt used to wipe it thrown on the table.
William Burtoft, a local vagrant, who was hanged for her murder of Frances Levin. Burtoft was arrested soon after the crime was reported
The back door of Frances Levin’s house where the assailant entered and subsequently murdered her in Manchester on July 19th, 1933
Some say that William Burtoft (left and right) was coaxed into a false confession by the police and subsequently hanged for the murder or Frances Levin
The kitchen at the home of Frances Levin. The kitchen is complete with wooden furniture and crockery displayed on shelves
Frances Levin was murdered in her living room (pictured above) and the blood soaked pillow can be seen on the sofa (right)
Her employer Mrs Levin was found in the front room, she’d been brutally bludgeoned and left for dead.
The investigation focussed on a man the maid had spotted exiting the house. Eight days later detectives intercepted a 47-year-old one eyed local William Burtoft who was arrested and according to detectives, quickly confessed.
At Manchester Strangeways prison on the 19th of December 1933, he was hanged. The case was decided solely on Burtoft’s confession obtained by the police when they intercepted him.
However, at the trial Burtoft pleaded not guilty and never gave evidence, leaving some to question the judgment.
The police allegedly coaxed him with whiskey to admit to the crime. Burtoft was of no fixed address and had serious drinking issues.
The murder of Beatrice Rimmer and the case against Edward Devlin and George Alfred Burns
On the Sunday evening of 19th August, 1951, a widow named Beatrice Rimmer in her early fifties had been visiting her son Thomas Rimmer.
She returned to her house in Wavertree, Liverpool around 10.10pm and was tragically found by her son Thomas the following day.
Thomas looked through the letterbox of his mother’s house and saw what he thought was a bundle of clothes. Alarmed he went to the back of the house and found the kitchen window pane had been broken, yet strangely the glass shards were on the floor of the yard, outside the house.
A crime scene photo dated 20th August 1951 which shows Beatrice Rimmer’s house in Liverpool where she was brutally murdered
Police investigated the house in Liverpool (left) where Beatrice Rimmer (right) was found dead by her son Thomas
Edward Devlin (left) and Alfred Burns (right) were convicted and hanged for the murder of Beatrice Rimmer, however reports stated that there had only been one attacker at the property
Beatrice Rimmer died in her home (pictured above) from a severally brutal attack, two men were later hanged for the murder
Alfred Burns and Edward Devlin had claimed that on the night of the murder they had been carrying out a robbery at a warehouse in Manchester
He climbed in through the broken window and found his mother in a large pool of clotted blood, just behind the front door.
The widow had died from an extremely violent attack that had left her with fifteen wounds.
The police were baffled by the motive behind the crime, because nothing had been taken from the house, and even the gas metre was untouched.
A team of detectives worked around the clock but Liverpool police soon reached a dead end. This was until Chief Superintendent Herbert Balmer suddenly claimed that a man serving time for a burglary at Walton Prison had told him who had committed the murder.
They were two Mancunian men; George Alfred Burns, aged 21, and 22-year-old Edward Devlin. The men both claimed that on the night of the murder they were carrying out a robbery at a warehouse in Manchester. However, they were found guilty at their trial and hanged in April 1952 at Walton Prison.
Modern day investigators have flagged worrying aspects of the case. One forensic investigator claims that there was only one attacker and not two.
Whilst a pathologist suggested that the prosecution’s belief the murder was carried out with a kosh was not correct – and he believed it was actually carried out with an axe.
The ‘scarlet woman’ who was hanged after being condemned for the murder of her husband
Other photos details the house where Charlotte Bryant lived with her husband Frederick. Charlotte Bryant was hanged at Exeter Jail on Wednesday July 15th, 1936, after being condemned for the murder of her husband Frederick.
Charlotte had met Frederick in Northern Ireland, when Frederick was serving there as a military policeman.
Illiterate and ill-educated, Charlotte was a well-known fraterniser with soldiers from the barracks and had been threatened with tarring and feathering by Irish Republicans for her behaviour.
The marital bed of Charlotte and Frederick Bryant (pictured above). Charlotte had apparently previously also moved her lovers into the marital home
Charlotte Bryant (left) had become bored of village life in Dorset with her husband Fredrick (right) and spent her days drinking
Charlotte Bryant (pictured above with one of her children) in her younger years
Charlotte moved to Dorset, England with Frederick where village life became boring for her and spent her days drinking and occasional prostitution.
Frederick was indifferent to his wife’s behaviour, so much so that when one of her lovers Edward Parsons moved into the marital home he would go drinking with his wife’s lover.
During 1935 Frederick was taken ill on numerous occasions until December 23rd when he was admitted to Sherborne hospital and died.
A post-mortem revealed 4.09 grains of arsenic in his blood and police searched Charlotte’s home where she lived with her children.
Amongst the items recovered was a burnt tin which had contained an arsenic-based weed killer. Charlotte was subsequently arrested and charged with murder.
During the trial damning evidence was given against Charlotte, including by a lesbian lover who told the court Charlotte had said she would get rid of the week killer tin and that she hated Frederick.
In 1936 the fact that Charlotte had brazenly committed adultery was utterly shocking and she was painted as a ‘scarlet’ woman – something that probably bore considerable weight with the jury.
Despite the circumstantial evidence being strong the science behind the weed killer tin was flawed.
It is difficult to say how much bias there was against an illiterate and immoral woman and how it may have affected the outcome.
The weed killer can (pictured above) which was used as evidence against Charlotte Bryant as it allegedly had arsenic inside which had been used to poison her husband