Burrows' trial by Glossop Magistrates for the murder of Hannah Calladine and her children.
Glossop Advertiser 22 June 1923
“NOT GUILTY” SAYS BURROWS.
His Answer to Triple Murder Charge.
THRILLING AND EXCITING SCENES.
Hostile demonstrations at Glossop and Manchester.
NEW AND SENSATIONAL EVIDENCE.
Fellow Prisoner’s Remarkable Statements.
Mr. Paling Presents the Case for the Crown.
Albert Edward Burrows, aged 62, charged with the murder of Hannah Calladine and her two children, Elsie Large, aged 4, and Albert Edward Burrows, aged 14 months, whose bodies were found in the Simmondley Pit, was committed for trial by the Glossop Magistrates on Wednesday. The trial will be at Derby Assizes at the beginning of July.
The whole of the country has taken an enormous interest in the proceedings, both at the inquest and the Police Court, and there were tense moments when the Mayor (Coun. S. Bamforth) informed Burrows of the decision of the Bench. Standing with head erect, and hands behind his back, Burrows faced the Bench and heard the Mayor announce his committal to the Derby Assizes on the triple charge of murder. Only a few weeks ago he faced the same ordeal when committed on the charge of having murdered the four-years-old boy, Tommy Wood.
“I am not guilty” said Burrows in the same cool manner which he has maintained throughout the whole proceedings, and there was later an outburst of “booing” from the people in the crowded Court which the police could not suppress.
Outside the Court a great number of people had again assembled, and when Burrows was removed in a taxi to Glossop Station the attitude of the crowd was menacing. His gaolers retained tight hold of him and constables mounted the running boards of the taxi, gripped the doors, and kept off the demonstrators. In front of the taxi a strong police detachment rode in the police motor-wagon. At Glossop Station there was an anxious time, and the iron gate to the platform had to be partly closed to stop an ugly rush, whilst earlier in the morning Burrows had been subjected to a hostile demonstration at London Road Station, Manchester. The day was a memorable one, and will long be recalled by hundreds of people who witnessed the Court proceedings and the public scenes in the streets.
Public interest in the Glossop Sensation was again at high tension on Tuesday morning, when Albert Edward Burrows, aged 62, of Back Kershaw Street, Glossop, appeared before the Glossop Bench on the triple charge of having murdered Hannah Calladine and her two illegitimate children, Elsie Large, 4 years, and Albert Edward Burrows, 14 months. The three alleged victims had been missing for years.
Burrows already stands committed to the Derby Assizes on a charge of murdering Tommy Wood, aged 4 years, whose body and portions of the remains of the other three were all recovered from the bottom of the same pit shaft after a very exhaustive police search.
Last week the Coroner’s jury returned a verdict of “Wilful murder” against Borrows in respect of Hannah Calladine and her two children, but added that there was not sufficient evidence to show how they came by their death.
No fewer than thirty-seven witnesses had to be called, several of whom did not give evidence at the inquest, and the proceedings were expected to last two full days.
The prisoner was brought from Strangeways Gaol on Tuesday morning and he was put on a train at London Road Station, Manchester, where a huge crowd gathered to witness his departure. He had to be taken over the bridge and along to another platform to avoid the throng.
On arriving at Glossop Station from Manchester soon after nine o’clock he hurried from the platform across the rails to the siding to where a closed taxi was in waiting, and was driven rapidly to the Town Hall.
There were only a few people about, and there, was no demonstration. The court-room was crowded, a large number of women being among the spectators,
Mr. G. R. Paling prosecuted on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and the prisoner, who appeared in the dock between two warders, was not represented, he appeared to be in good health.
The chairman of the bench was the Mayor, Mr. S. Bamforth, who was accompanied by Mr. J. Malkin and Mr. W. Holdgate.
In opening the case, Mr. Paling said the prisoner, Albert Edward Burrows, stood charged with the murder of a woman named Hannah Calladine and her two illegitimate children, Elsie Large, aged 4 years, and Albert Edward Burrows, aged 14 months, who was the son of the prisoner.
As regards Hannah Calladine and the child Albert Edward Burrows, said Mr, Paling, the date of the alleged murder was January 11, 1920, and in the case of Elsie Large it was January 12, 1920.
Hannah Calladine and her two children appeared to have arrived in Glossop about December 18, 1919. They lived with the prisoner at his house, 94b, Back Kershaw Street, Glossop.
Since January 12, 1920, all these three people had been missing. No one had either seen or heard of them since that date.
Mr. Paling described the discovery of the body of Tommy Wood and the remains of the woman and her two children. The remains of the last three, he said, had now been definitely identified. The pit shaft was again searched as the result of a “chance remark” after the finding of Tommy Wood’s body, There was not the slightest doubt that Hannah Calladine and her two children somehow or other went down that pit shaft.
It would appear that some time during the war prisoner met this Miss Calladine, and though he was a married man he had a child by her, which was born on October 28, 1918, and was Christened in his name Albert Edward Burrows.
Hannah Calladine, who lived at Royles Wood, near Nantwich, on September 8, 1919, made an application to the Justices at Nantwich for an order against the prisoner in respect of her child. This the Justices granted making an order of 7s. a week until the child reached the age of 13.
On November 6, 1919, a warrant was issued by the Nantwich Justices for the arrest of the prisoner for non-payment of arrears under that order, and two days later he was committed to prison for 28 days for that offence.
Through September, October and November, prisoner was living with his wife in Glossop at his house in Back Kershaw Street. On December 18, 1819, Hannah Calladine and her two children arrived at Glossop. They were not known there, apart from the prisoner and they took up residence at his house.
The natural result of this was that the prisoner’s wife, Mrs. Burrows immediately left her home and took up her abode with some friends.
Mr Paling said that on December 30, twelve days after Calladine's arrival at Glossop, a summons was served on the prisoner in connection with his wife's application for a maintenance order.
At this time prisoner was out of work and was placed with the position of having either to pay 7s a week on an affiliation order or to pay under an order which his wife was seeking to obtain.
Although prisoner’s rent was only 2s. 8d. a week he was at this time in arrears to the extent of over £6.
“What course does prisoner take?” asked counsel.
“Here is this woman, Calladine, a stranger in a strange town, miles away from friends and relations who are likely to make immediate inquiries about her whereabouts.
“So, on Sunday, January 11, 1920, on the very eve of the hearing of the summons taken out by his wife, at 6-5 o'clock in the evening, he takes Hannah Calladine and his baby boy out for a walk on the Glossop moors.
“From that time neither of them have been heard of or seen since.
“The contention of the prosecution is that the prisoner foully murdered both the woman and his own child and cast their bodies down the air shaft.
“The following day early in the morning prisoner is seen walking towards the moors with the other little child, Elsie, and I say she was done to death in a similar manner, and her body was then cast down the air-shaft.
“The prisoner returns alone, and to a neighbour, Mrs. Hammond who remarked upon him having been out for a walk early, prisoner tells her the brutal and callous truth. He replied, “Yes, I have been taking Elsie to join her mother.’’
Counsel pointed out that within a week of the hearing of this maintenance order prisoner's wife returned to live with him. Then arose the question as to what explanation prisoner could possibly give about the disappearance of Hannah Calladine and the two children.
Mr. Paling said that when questioned as to Miss Calladine’s disappearance Burrows said she had a “good place,” but he declined to say where — though once he falsely stated she was working in a bacon shop in Manchester and gave the firm's name.
Some time in 1920 prisoner appeared to have secured a photograph of a baby, belonging to Mrs. Burrows' brother-in-law and sent it along to Hannah's parents as that of a newly-arrived grandchild. In that letter he said that “Nance and her two children are all well and happy,”
Prisoner also wrote letters to people who were not relations, and he (counsel) would produce one which was written to a woman friend, who was convinced that it was from the dead woman. It was written some time in 1922, from 94a, Back Kershaw Street.
It was as follows:—
“Dear Friend, — It is now two years and four months since I came here, I have written twice to you, but I have never heard from you. Do you ever see mother on the market-place? When you do tell my friends I have the best husband in the world, and everything I want. I have been a fool to take notice of my sister and parents, and I hope I will never see them again. They are not fit to black my husband’s boots.”
That letter was signed “Hannah Calladine.”
Prisoner's hope, said counsel, was that the recipient of that letter, Martha Williams, would, on market day, tell her friends she had a letter from Hannah Calladine, and so circulate the story that she was still alive and happy in Glossop.
Another letter sent by the prisoner to a lady named Mrs Newton, who was a great friend of Hannah Calladine, was of a peculiar character.
It was dated from Glossop, November 20, 1920, and began with an allegation that his wife had purloined the letter from a postman at Glossop and was being charged with that offence at the local police court.
The letter then continued:
“My first wife has been divorced from me by law. She was never, really my wife, for she was married in Scotland before I knew her, but I have not enough evidence to prove that at Chester Assizes.
“I have been legally married to Hannah Calladine. I have told you already that my first wife is dead to me, but she tries to cause bother by telling lies and insulting me in the streets. Me and Hannah are honestly man and wife.
“Hannah’s mother has the divorce papers to show anyone who wants to see them. I hope any letter from my wife will be sent back unopened, as she is still trying to make trouble.”
Counsel pointed out that in that letter prisoner was seeking to create the impression that he and Calladine were legally married, but it was significant that he referred inquirers to Nantwich, and not to Glossop, where it would have been easy to prove if his story was true.
Referring to the case of Tommy Wood, Mr. Paling said that while in custody on the charge of murdering the boy Burrows apparently had the intention of putting up a curious defence, as disclosed by letters he had written in prison. The defence he intended to put up was that he took the boy Tommy Wood for a walk on the moors, and that while there he met Hannah Calladine and his own son.
He was talking to Hannah Calladine, and the two little boys were playing together, and suddenly Tommy was missing. In one letter from prison Burrows wrote that neither himself nor the lad’s mother could understand his going so quickly.
In a second letter from prison, to a Mrs. Byrom, Burrows wrote that his wife would not allow him to have the boy by the other woman (meaning Hannah Calladine) although she had asked his wife to let him have the boy as his own.
“If his mother had liked,” proceeded the letter, “she could have sent me to prison every month for not paying. He is a living picture, and I wanted to have him, but she (meaning his wife) would not listen to reason one way or the other, and me and my son and his mother have had to meet together on the quiet.
“We were together on the Sunday, and my son and little Tommy Wood were playing together, throwing a rabbit at each other. I got up to follow two men who were hedging us, and when I came back little Tommy Wood was missing, and we could not find him. I can truthfully say he has not been harmed by me or anyone else.”
A similar letter was written to Mrs Calladine from prison.
“If a man was putting up a defence of this kind,” went on Mr. Paling, “the first thing he would be asked was to produce Hannah Calladine and that he could not do because he had murdered her three years ago.”
The accused had therefore to try and make up some story to show where she was, and he (Mr. Paling) proposed to call evidence by a man who was in hospital at the prison with Burrows, and in the next bed.
While he was there Burrows asked him to write a letter when he came out of prison, to post at Crewe, and sign the letter “Hannah Calladine” saying she was fed up with life, and was going to do herself in.
On receipt of that, letter the prisoner undoubtedly would have produced it to show that Hannah Calladine could not be produced because she was dead and had committed suicide.
A curious piece of corroboration cropped up in the finding of the bodies. Hannah Calladine and the baby were the first to be murdered, and the elder child on the next day. Both the police officer and the colliery deputy would say that the first body they came across was that of the elder child, which was on the top. and, therefore, must have gone down the pit later than the other two.
Counsel referred to the splendid work done by Police-Constable Roe and James Hilton down the pit-shaft, which, he said, was 105 feet deep and contained several feet of water when the search operations began, and later the air was very foul and the stench very bad, as dead animals had been put down the pit from time to time.
“The evidence I can put before you,” concluded Mr. Paling, “I contend will be conclusive The motive of the prisoner is one of the most powerful and overwhelming.
“The prisoner had nothing to lose and every advantage to gain by committing these murders, and if you are of the opinion that the prisoner did either of these three murders — because there are three distinct murders and three distinct charges against him — I shall ask for his committal for trial to the ensuing Assizes at Derby.”
Immediately after the Court opened, P. C. Roe was called as the first witness, and replying to questions by Mr. Paling stated: On Monday, the 7th of May, I went to the Dinting pit air-shaft at Simmondley, and inspected it, and there were in it about three or four feet of water and a large quantity of debris. On Wednesday, the 9th of May we erected the necessary tackle for the purpose of descending the shaft. On that day I went down the shaft, and James Hilton went with me. It took us about a fortnight to clear the shaft, and I estimate that we removed from 15 to 18 tons of debris.
Mr. Paling: What depth does that represent? — Witness: Seven or eight feet.
What did you come across when you had removed the debris? — The whole of the shaft was covered with sheets of tin.
What was there immediately underneath? — Human remains.
Did you send these human remains to the top of the shaft? — Yes, sir.
And did you convey them to the Police Mortuary? — Yes.
Were you present when Professor Stopford examined those remains? — Yes.
Did you continue to search the shaft? — Yes.
You had to fight the inflow of the water — for how long? — About seven days.
On the 31st of May did you any further human remains? — Yes.
And did you convey them to the top of the shaft and you yourself convey them to the Police Mortuary? — Yes.
And were you present when Professor Stopford examined those remains? — Yes.
Were those sent to the top of the shaft? — Yes.
And were they handed by you to Inspector Chadwick? — Yes.
On the table across there, are those the portions of clothing that you found? — Yes.
Amongst the human remains and articles recovered, continued witness, in reply to Mr. Paling, there was a human skull (photograph of which was produced); a white table knife (produced); a lining from a woman's coat; some pieces of blue woollen material; button with some cloth attached; pair of child‘s clogs, which had some feet inside them, and stockings; small pieces of red rubber; piece of green-striped coat; piece of cloth with some embroidery; small piece of lace; portion of underclothing, with some flesh adhering; pieces of a child's corset; two pieces of cloth, adhering to a child's arm; pair of buttoned boots, with stockings inside them; a piece of grey cloth and skirt; quantity of natural coloured woollen material; pieces of stockings; and four large and one small button.
Mr. Paling: As far as you are able to judge, which of the three bodies did you find on top? — Witness: The girl, four years old.
That would be the child from whose feet you found the clogs? — Yes,
Were you present when Professor Stopford made his examination of all the remains that were found? — Yes.
And when he made the examination, did you identify all those remains as those which you discovered at the bottom of the shaft? — Yes, sir.
In March of this year, said witness, he measured the wall round the shaft, and it was 6ft. 6in high and there was a small aperture on the farthest side from the road; but in his opinion, that aperture was not large enough to admit the passage of an adult.
The Clerk (to Burrows): Burrows, do you want to ask the witness any questions?
Burrows: No sir.
James Hilton, colliery deputy, 12, Ethel Street, Oldham, the next witness, deposed: on Wednesday, 9th of May, I went down the Dinting air-shaft in company with P.C. Roe. There was a large quantity of debris in and it took a fortnight to clear it. We came across some sheets of tin, and underneath were human remains. We had to fight against the inflow of water, and it took us another week before we could master the water to start searching again. We then found further remains and pieces of clothing. In my opinion the remains of the girl Elsie were on top. There was no opening whatever at the bottom of the shaft, and it would be impossible for the bodies to get to the bottom of the shaft except by coming from the top.
Burrows was asked by the Clerk if he desired to ask the witness any questions and promptly replied “No, sir.”
Ernest Battey, photographer, carrying on business at Norfolk Street, Glossop, gave evidence to the effect that on June 1st he took a photograph of the skull at the Police Station, and the photograph was the one produced in Court.
Detective-Sergeant Richard Wilson stated: On the 5th of June I received from Inspector Chadwick at the Police Station a human pelvis, and conveyed it to Professor Stopford at the Manchester University.
Mary Elizabeth Calladine was next called, and stated that she was a spinster and resided at Royles Wood, Aston, near Nantwich. The deceased, Hannah Calladine, was my sister, proceeded witness, and she had two children — a girl four years old and a boy aged fourteen months (their birth certificates were produced). The girl, Elsie Cecilia May Large, was born on the 2nd of June, 1916, and the boy, Albert Edward Burrows, on the 26th of October, 1918. His father was described as A. E. Burrows, of Kershaw Street, Glossop. and the mother, Hannah Calladine, of Royles Wood, Aston, near Nantwich. My sister and her little children made her home with me and my parents. She last left home with the children on the 17th of December, 1919. She had the younger child in a baby’s push-cart (produced in Court). From that day I have never received any letters or post-cards or anything from her. When she has left home on former occasions she had been a regular correspondent with me. Since the 17th of Dec., 1919, I have received a number of letters and post-cards from prisoner. I could not say how many — I have destroyed a lot of them. All these letters and post-cards received at our home were read by me, because my parents are aged and unable to read. In the letters and postcards received from prisoner no mention was made of the fact that my sister and children were no longer living with him. In none of them did he make any reference to my sister and children having died. I produce two post-cards and a letter I have kept. One post-card was dated October 1st. 1920, and in this prisoner asked for some blackberries. Another post-card was dated November 21st, 1921, and contained a photo of a baby.
Witness went on to state that she received a letter asking for her sister’s clothing, and the latter was despatched by rail in two tin boxes, witness detailing the articles which were sent to Glossop. Witness mentioned that her mother came over to Glossop once.
Witness subsequently identified the boots (produced) as belonging to her sister, and clogs and parts of clothing which had belonged to the girl Elsie, and portions of clothing belonging to the younger child. The younger child also wore a truss, made of rubber, pieces of which were produced, and identified by her. The buttons produced were the same buttons which her sister had on her black costume. “I was very well acquainted.” said witness, “with my sister's clothing, and I frequently looked after and dressed the children.”
Mr. Paling: Will you tell us whether there was anything peculiar about your sister's teeth?
Witness: Yes. The four front teeth were what we call “rabbit teeth,” and the right eye tooth was very prominent.
Has Inspector Chadwick shown you the skull? — Yes.
Was that on Monday, the 4th of June? — “Yes” answered witness almost inaudibly
"What do you say about that skull”?, asked Mr. Paling.
The witness, who was evidently labouring under the stress of great emotion, did not reply, but immediately got up from her seat in the witness box and rushed out of Court, followed by Inspector Chadwick, who returned a moment later and informed the Clerk that the witness had fainted.
After the lapse of some minutes Miss Calladine had not returned into Court, and it was decided to call the next witness.
Philip George. Robinson, master clogger, residing at 5, Beam Street Nantwich, said he knew the Calladine family very well, who had been customers of his for several years. Hannah Calladine made purchases from time to time. The pair of clogs produced were their make, and he recognised them by the leather facings, large eyelets and workmanship generally.
Thomas Henry Middleton, of Wistaston, Crewe, clerk to the Justices of the Petty Sessional Division of Nantwich, produced the original bastardy order, dated 8th September, 1919, granted to Hannah Calladine against Burrows in respect to a male child named Albert Edward Burrows. On the 8th November of the same year prisoner was brought before the Justices for arrears and committed to gaol for 21 days. No further proceedings had been taken since that date, and no payments of money made by prisoner it was the usual custom for him (witness) to receive the payments as collector.
Ruth Rowbottom, matron at the High Peak Isolation Hospital, Chinley, deposed that she kept the register of patients but the name of Calladine, Large or Burrows did not appear therein during the months of December 1922, and January 1923, neither could she remember any person or child of those names being admitted.
Arthur Dearnaley, parcel van-man, in the employ of the L. and N. E. Railway Co. and residing at 3, Armitage Place, Arundel Street, Glossop, produced a railway delivery sheet signed by Burrows as having received a tin trunk and a round tin hat box. He recognised the boxes (produced) as the same which were received by Burrows at his residence Back Kershaw Street on the 15th Jan., 1920, and signed for by prisoner.
Mr. Wm. Bruce Hadfield, solicitor, residing at Sunny Bank, Hadfield, deputy clerk to the Justices for the Borough of Glossop, produced the original maintenance order under the Married Woman's Jurisdiction Act granted on the application of Mrs. Burrows against the prisoner on the 12th January 1920, for a weekly sum of £1. He had no knowledge of any payments having been made under that order.
Mr Smith, South Drive, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, secretary to T. Seymour Mead and Co. Limited, multiple grocers, stated that no person of the names Hannah Calladine, Large or Burrows had been employed by that firm since 1918.
Beatrice Cheetham, a spinster residing at Bank Cottage, Offerton, and manageress of the “Wray” Photographic Studio, St. Petersgate, Stockport, said the photograph (produced) of a baby was taken at the studio on September 9th, 1921. The person who ordered the photograph was named Williamson and one dozen copies were supplied.
Harry Williamson, a miner, residing at Oak Terrace, Woodford, near Bramhall, Cheshire, said the prisoner was his wife's brother. In September, 1921, he had his baby photographed at the Wray Studio. Stockport. The picture post-card of the baby was a photo of his son. He sent a copy of the photograph in September, 1921, to Mrs. Burrows, Back Kershaw Street, Glossop.
Martha Williams, residing with her parents at 12, Pratitch's Road, Nantwich, said she knew a woman who came to stay at their house as Mrs. Burrows. Her Christian name was Hannah. The woman and her two children, along with the prisoner Burrows, came to their house on the same day as they were married at the Nantwich Registry Office. They stayed a week. The woman went to work along with her (witness’s) mother. They lived together as man and wife. The letter now produced was one which she received and believed to have come from Hannah Burrows. She got it about three months before Christmas. The letter was read by the Magistrates' Clerk, in which was stated that it was about two years and four months since the writer went to their house, and that “she and the children were all well.” The writer also requested Miss Williams to convey their love to certain persons mentioned and concluded with love from Hannah.
Evidence was given by Dr. Dible, lecturer in Pathology and Bacteriology at the University, Manchester, who described some of the human remains recovered from the Simmondley air-shaft. On the 6th of June he examined the pelvis of a child, and there were fragments of clothing adhering to the skin. A portion of the genital remains showed them to be those of a female child, and he came to the conclusion that, they belonged to a child three or four years of age. He examined further remains at the Mortuary at the Glossop Borough Police Station on the 8th of June, and he stated that, these were portions of remains of an adult female and two children. He could find nothing to show the cause of death.
Professor Stopford, Professor of Anatomy at the Manchester University, described the human bones which he examined at the Glossop Mortuary on the 1st, 4th, and 8th of June, his evidence being similar to that given before the Coroner’s Court.
Mrs. Minnie Newton, 9, Chesant Grove, Crewe, widow, said: I worked at the Munition Works at Wincham, near Northwich, and there met Hannah Calladine, and became friendly with her. The prisoner was also working there. We were working on the nitrate stage. The Munition Works closed in 1918. The prisoner after that date came to our house when the baby was five or six months old; I think it would be in 1919, and Hannah Calladine was with him. That was the last time I saw her. I next saw Burrows some time later when he came out from Chester when he had served his time for bigamy. He came alone I next saw him casually at London Road Station, Manchester, in September or October, 1920. He was corning off the station. I subsequently received a letter (produced) which had apparently come from the prisoner Borrows on November 20th, 1920.
Miss Mary Elizabeth Calladine, the deceased woman's sister, was next able to resume her evidence, and was asked by Mr. Paling: On the 4th of June when you saw the skull at the Police Station, did you notice anything about it?
Witness: Only the teeth.
What did you notice about them? The right eye tooth was very prominent, and corresponded to my sister's tooth.
When Miss Calladine had finished her evidence the Clerk turned to prisoner and said “Do you with to cross-examine this witness?”
Burrows: I wish to look at those marriage lines.
The Clerk: There has been none produced.
Burrows: Yes. sir
The Clerk: In this Court? I don't think so. There have been two birth certificates.
Burrows Well, the birth certificates.
These were produced for the inspection of prisoner by Inspector Chadwick, who stepped up into the dock and opened out the certificates, Burrows, after closely scrutinising them, replying “Thank you.”
Another new witness was John Thomas Rogers, a collier, of 88, Woodward Street, Ancoats, Manchester, who, on March 14th this year, was in the hospital attached to Strangeways Prison, Manchester.
Burrows, he said, was in the next bed to him on the left. Witness asked him what he was in for. Burrows told him he had been blamed for the murder of the little boy named Tommy Wood, and that he had not done it.
He added that they had only got him there to get his back up. There was, he said, a woman who could get him out of the trouble if she would only come forward.
When witness asked who the woman was, prisoner said that on the day the boy was missing he took the little boy Wood with him to meet this woman and that when he met her she also had a little boy, whom he sent with the other to play. Witness said Burrows then made use of some language which he did not wish to repeat openly. At the request of the Bench witness wrote it down and it was shown to prisoner. Who smiled on reading it but made no comment.
Proceeding, witness stated that prisoner said one of the little boys came back and said the other little boy had fallen through a hole in the wall.
Burrows told him that he then left the woman and met little Tommy Wood's mother and told her the the boy was lost, and that some men went in search of him, and that he (Burrows) joined them in the search.
“Later,” said witness, when my sentence was coming to a close last month, Burrows asked me if I would write him a letter from Crewe.
I asked him what he wanted putting in the letter and he showed me various kinds of writing on a prison slate that the woman used to do.
“Then he asked me to put 'I and the children are all right and hoping to see you soon' and the words 'Hannah Calladine' at the bottom. He also asked me to put some crosses on the bottom, and said 'For God's sake do not tell anyone else what I have asked you to do”.
Witness said he promised to write the letter but had no intention of doing so and he subsequently spoke to Mr. Cook, the hospital officer.
When going out of prison on May 30th, Burrows came to him and said “Do not forget that there.” meaning the letter, “and send me a paper”.
Prison Hospital Officer James Cook, who was one of the warders in charge of Burrows, was called, and stated that he received a communication from the last witness respecting the conversation detailed above.
Lemuel Bowden, 26, St Mary's Road, Glossop, said I own the house No 94b, Back Kershaw Street, Glossop, and prisoner is the tenant of that house. In January of 1920 he was paying 2s 8d per week, and at the beginning of the month the rent was in arrears by £6 13s 2d.
Mrs. Eliza Hammond, 94, Back Kershaw Street, Glossop, widow, deposed: My house door is exactly opposite 94b Back Kershaw Street, Glosop, where the prisoner lives. There is only one door to each house and there is a distance of about 3½ yards from our door to Burrows' door. I was friendly with Burrows and the people in his house. I remember December 1919, when Mrs. Burrows summoned her husband, and I also remember Mrs Burrows leaving home — she left on a Friday, and it would perhaps be about the 19th of December. Before Mrs. Burrows left home Hannah Calladine and two children arrived at the house. One child was aged between 3 and 4 years, and the other about fourteen months. On the Sunday afternoon after they arrived I spoke to Burrows. I called at his house, and he introduced the woman as “Nance” and the youngest child as “Albert Edward”. He did not say anything about the other child. I afterwards saw the woman and her two children several times while they were there, and the last time was on a Sunday night on the day before he was up at Court on the Monday. It would be about 6 o’clock or five minutes past. She was standing at the door of Burrows' house and was dressed in dark clothes. I don’t remember seeing the two children that day. I next saw Burrows the next day, on the Monday morning, about 8 o'clock. I was then in my house, and saw him through the window, and he was going into the house and was alone. He had a stick in his hand. In a few minutes he came out again. I also saw him again during some part of the day, and he was coming up the back yard. I remarked to him that “he had been having his walks early that morning,” and he said he had been taking Elsie to her mother. I asked him where she was and he said “he was not telling anyone — they had made it up not to tell anyone. They had made it up to keep a secret”. Since that date she had asked him several times where they were and if they were doing all right and he always said “they had a good home”. He stated she was working in a bacon shop down Stretford way. I asked him for the address, but he said it was a secret. Shortly after Burrows' wife left him he went to work down Manchester way and while he was working there I got a post card (which I have since burned) and it was signed “Nance.” and as far as I remember it said that Albert Edward was getting a fine boy like his father, and Elsie was all right. When Burrows came back he said to me “Did you get your post card?” and I said “Yes, but I think you sent it, too” and he made no reply, and only laughed. He did not deny having sent it. During the period that Hannah Calladine was with Burrows in December 1919 and January 1920, Burrows was not working.
Marie Hibbert, 101, Kershaw Street, Glossop, wife of Albert Hibbert, said in the month of January 1920 she purchased from prisoner the baby’s carriage now produced, and paid him 7s. 6d. for it, the price he asked. Prisoner came to her mother’s house and asked if they would buy the carriage, as it was “a lumber to take on the train.” She fetched the carriage from prisoner's house the same day. She thought the carriage was cheap at the price.
Eliza Jane Byron, residing at 50, Princess Street, Glossop, wife of Mr John Byrom, said she knew the prisoner and received a letter from him, dated the 15th May, addressed from H.M. Prison, Strangeways.
In this letter prisoner asked for a copy of the local paper, and amongst other statements complained that his wife would not answer any of his letters and that she was always trying to make him out as bad as she could, and enquired how his little daughter was getting on. Burrows further stated in the letter that he had done no harm to Tommy Wood or anyone else.
William Paul Leach, said he was a clerk in the employ of the Labour Exchange, Glossop, and knew prisoner through paying him out of work donations. The Exchange records showed that on the 14th January, Burrows made in application for unemployment pay and received it for a period of 48 days. Prior to that date prisoner had received unemployment pay. On the 28th December, 1921, prisoner made an application for dependence grant for wife and two children, which was ante dated to the 6th of November, and in the case of one of the children the birth was given as 26th October, 1918. Payment was made to prisoner in respect of himself, wife and two children from the 16th November, 1921, and continued up to 13th March, 1923, except for one or two short intervals when he was in employment. When payment ceased prisoner was in employment in Manchester.
Margaret Ann Streets, a widow, residing at 2, Hollincross Lane, Glossop, said she remembered that sometime in 1919, Mrs. Burrows came to live with her. Hannah Calladine came to Glossop on a Thursday and Mrs. Burrow came to live with her (witness) the day following. It was about three weeks before the 12th of January, 1920. Mrs. Burrows left on the 16th of January, and went back home to her husband. She (witness) generally got up in the morning about half past six o'clock. She had known Burrows personally about 12 years, ever since he came to live in Back Kershaw Street. On the 12th January, 1920, she saw Burrows between 6-15 and 6-45 a.m. passing her house on the other side of the road, going in the direction of Pikes Lane, which led on to Simmondley and the moor. Her husband was standing at the front door and in consequence of what he said she went to the door and saw prisoner just passing the church gates, and she watched him out of sight. A little girl was with him who appeared to be between 3 and 4 years of age .She did not know who the child was. The next time she saw Burrows was about 10 minutes to 8 the same morning, when he knocked at her door and asked if Mrs. Burrows was in. When she replied “No, she has gone to her work.” Burrows said nothing more and went away. She saw him again the same morning about 20 minutes past nine, going towards his own home. He was alone, carrying a little stick in his hand. Four or five days later she was out shopping when prisoner came across the road to her at the end of Kershaw Street, and said “Nance has got a good shop.” and she asked “Where?” and he then said “In a bacon shop with a relation of mine.” Witness said “Where are the children?” and he replied “I have got them in a good home.” Witness then asked him how he was going to keep them, and he replied “We have made that up between us; they are alright and will never trouble us any more;” and that “she will never come to Glossop any more.” Several occasions afterwards, Burrows had given similar replies to her enquiries. She had also asked for the address of Hannah and the children when prisoner said “that was a secret between him and Nance, and he would never tell.”
George Dale, wholesale newsagent, 90, Victoria Street, Glossop, (in reply to Mr Paling) said he remembered the end of 1919 and the beginning of 1920 when Mrs. Burrows was living with Mrs. Streets. He and prisoner were on friendly terms, so far as he knew. He was friendly with both Mr and Mrs Burrows. During the week previous to the 12th of January prisoner stopped him in the street between 8 and half-past in the morning and showed him a summons similar to the one produced, and asked “Shall you see my missus this morning?” Prisoner wanted him (witness) to use his influence with Mrs. Burrows to get her to withdraw the summons and he told him that he probably would see her and that he would do what he could. He saw prisoner again on the morning of the 12th of January when he stopped witness in the street about 8 o’clock and again asked if he would be seeing Mrs. Burrows that morning and witness replied “probably I will.” Prisoner then said “Will you try and get her to withdraw that, summons” also “You might tell her that Nance has gone house keeping for a widower”. Witness asked “What about the kiddies Burrows” and he replied “The man has no children and he is pleased with them” and if she (his wife) would withdraw the summons and stop the bother she might come home straight away.” To this witness replied “I don’t care to be mixed up with family squabbles, but if you have any note for her I will take it.” Prisoner then took a note out of his pocket and handed it to him. We (continued witness) were within fifty yards of where prisoner’s wife was living and I asked him why he did not go and see her before she went to work, to which Burrows replied that he had been down but she had gone. I delivered the note to Mrs. Burrows before 9 o'clock where she was working. Mrs. Burrows scanned the note over and then handed it to me to read. After I had read it I handed it back to her. As far as I can remember the note asked her to withdraw the summons and to come home. About ten minutes afterwards on my way home I met prisoner again in Charlestown, when he asked “Did you see my missus” and I replied “Yes, I did”. He then asked what she said and I told him that she had seen the Chief Constable and he had advised her to let the case go on.” We walked down the street together for some distance and then parted. Prisoner was carrying a little stick in the left hand inside pocket of his coat. Prisoner appeared agitated when he first met me at 8 o’clock, but more so when I delivered the wife's message. I supposed the man's agitation was because he had to appear at the Court.
John William Welburn, 38, Freetown, Glossop, doubling overlooker, was the next witness, and said: I have known the prisoner for about four years. In January, 1920, prisoner came to our house, to the back door, and offered me for sale a small dark blue coat, which had four little brass buttons on. Prisoner said it was a boy's coat. The coat would have fitted a little boy about three years old, just “breeched”. Burrows said he had just had a parcel of clothing from his parents, and this coat was no good, as he had not got a little boy of his own. He asked me 2s. for it, and I gave him half-a-crown. The coat has since been destroyed, as it was worn out. I did not buy anything else from him.
William Cartwright, 15, Kershaw Street, Glossop, said: I am a labourer. I know the prisoner. I have known him since early in February, 1920, when he came to our house. I had not known him previously. He wanted to sell me some clothing — children and women's clothing — and he said he had got it from his sister's. I went across with prisoner to his house and bought the clothing, and paid him 8s. I took the parcel of clothing home and gave it my wife. Burrows came again the next morning with two pairs of shoes — a pair of lady's laced-up boots and a pair of child's shoes. He wanted me to buy them and I did so. I paid him 6s. for them. He did not tell me where they came from.
Mrs. Nannie Cartwright, wife of William Cartwright, 15, Kershaw Street, Glossop, next called, said: I remember February, 1920, when my husband brought a parcel of clothes. The parcel, as far as I remember, contained two flannel petticoats, with calico bodices; a child’s frock, but I cannot tell you the colour, and it would fit a child about fourteen months old; two or three lady's blouses; a linsey top skirt, a fairly big one; and a brown curly lady’s coat. I considered they were a bargain for 8s. The following day I was present when my husband brought some boots from the prisoner. They were a pair of lady's black laced-up boots, newly soled and heeled, and a child’s pair of red little buttoned boots, which would fit a child about fourteen months old.
Harold Garside, 39, High Street West, Glossop, deposed: I assist my uncle in his business as jeweller and silversmith. I know the prisoner. I have known him since I went to school, or about nineteen years. I remember February 23rd, 1920, when he came into our shop and brought with him a gold wedding ring to sell. I was present when my uncle purchased it for 30s.
Mr. Paling: What happened to the ring?
Witness: It was subsequently sold, with other things, for old gold for melting up.
Mrs. Florrie Hammond, 104, Kershaw Street, wife of John Hammond, was next examined, and, in reply to Mr. Paling, said: I have known the prisoner for about four years. I remember a woman called “Nance” coming to live at his house. She had two children with her. It was just before Christmas in 1919.
Mr. Paling: Do you remember them going away?
Witness: Yes, sir.
How long after? — About three weeks.
Did the children go as well? — I don’t know about that, but Mr. Burrows afterwards told me they had gone.
Witness continued: On the Monday morning, the 12th of January, 1920, 1 was in the wash-house of my mother-in-law when Burrows came to the door, and said his wife was having him up that day, and “Nance” had gone back on Sunday night. Some time later in 1920, when Burrows was working at Stretford in Manchester, he came over to Glossop and said “Nance” wished to be remembered to me, and “sent her love.” I asked him where she was and he said she was working in Stretford in Seymour Mead's bacon shop. I said to him “I thought he had given over bothering with 'Nance' now that Mrs. Burrows had come back,” and Burrows laughed and then said “I suppose you don’t know 'Nance' has had twins since she left Glossop”. I thought he was only joking when he said it, and we both laughed about it. He said the twins were dead.
Mrs. Edith Helen Hallsworth, wife of Albert Hallsworth, 4, King Street, Glossop, stated: I have known prisoner by sight a long time, but only personally for the last three or four years. I remember a Saturday afternoon, late on in April, 1920, I went to visit my friend, Mrs. Hammond, and while I was there prisoner came and stood by the doorway. He started talking, and Mrs. Hammond asked him if he over saw 'Nance'? and he replied “Yes, very often.” He said she had given birth to twins since leaving Glossop, and he added that they were both dead. He further stated that she was down Stretford, working in some bacon shop. I saw him pull some papers out of his pocket and he said they were shares of some kind made out to the boy Albert Edward Borrows when he became of age. I did not see what the shares said on them.
Harriett Mellor, 98, Kershaw Street, wife of James Mellor, said she had known prisoner about ten years and remembered a woman named “Nance” and two children being at prisoner's house and their leaving. About a fortnight after they had left prisoner came to her house and offered to give her a woman's jacket remarking that it would do to make some trousers for one of her boys. Prisoner went away and returned in a few minutes bringing a lady's dark blue navy costume jacket. It was torn and when she drew his attention to it he replied that it was one “Nance” had given to Mrs. Burrows and that he had torn it off her back as he was not going to let her wear it after what she had said about Hannah Calladine. He also asked her not to let his wife know that he had given her (witness) the jacket.
Mary Marsden, residing at 140, Victoria Street, Glossop, the wife of Joseph Marsden, stated that she had known the prisoner “a year or two,” probably before the war. About, a quarter to eight on the morning of the 12th January prisoner came into her shop and asked what time his wife would be going to her work and she replied about nine o’clock. He appeared very excited, and was carrying a small stick in his hand.
In reply to Mr. Paling, witness said she received a letter from prisoner when in H.M. Prison at Strangeways, which she recognised as the one now produced. The letter was dated 18th of April, 1923, and was read by the Magistrates' Clerk as follows:—
I am writing these few lines hoping you are in the best of health as it leaves me at present and quite happy, as I have no reason to be otherway, as I want you to understand that I am quite innocent of the charge I am here awaiting trial for. It does not matter what the papers said or anyone else, I loved the boy and he me and it was nothing for him to go with me in the fields. We had been together many times and I had always brought him safe back again, and it was alright for his parents, they liked me to take him. He always told me if his father swore at him, and had a share of all I eat in our house, and sometimes he would come back and say “My mammie says 'send her some' and I had to go over and explain it if I had any more or not. He trusted me more than anyone else and they want to say I have harmed him. Could anyone harm a child if they loved it like we loved each other?
There has been a great blunder made and Glossop people have put a wrong construction on the thing altogether and I have the Chief Constable of Cheshire doing their best to find those that were with me when the boy was lost. I wish they had let me see him.
I cannot believe hardly yet that the poor little chap is dead, but I do know this: That he was playing with my own when he vanished and neither me or Albert's mother can understand his going so quick. We had met often before and my son has played with Thomas Wood many times in the fields up Simmondley. You see, my wife would not let me have the boy or pay to him or anything else, or even have a letter from the mother, so I think she has been a woman in a thousand or she would have sent me to prison for a month for not paying. We should never have been together if she would agree to have the boy; he is a living picture and I love him. But you understand,
A. E. BURROWS.
Inspector J. E. Chadwick next stated: I am an Inspector of Police in the Glossop Borough Police Force. On the 30th December, 1919, I personally served a summons on prisoner at his home 94, Back Kershaw Street, Glossop, taken out at the instance of his wife for maintenance. I went to the house, and there was a woman there whom prisoner introduced to me as “Nance Calladine,” and she was nursing a baby, and there was also present a little fair-haired girl about three or four years of age. He spoke of the baby as being his son, Albert Edward. I don’t remember anything being said about the little girl. I don’t remember that Burrows made any reply when I served the summons on him. On the 7th of March this year I saw the prisoner at the Police Station at Glossop, and I had a conversation with him. I asked him where Nance Calladine had got to, and he said “She was living down Manchester and doing well.” I was present at the Dinting air shaft on the 23rd of May and subsequent dates when P.C. Roe and James Hilton recovered particles of clothing, and I conveyed them to the Police Mortuary. On Saturday, June 9th, I went to 94b, Back Kershaw Street and saw a tin hat box and a tin trunk, and I took possession of them.
Mr. Paling: Have you seen the prisoner write?
Witness: Yes, sir.
Will you please, then, look at exhibits No. 27, 28, 29, 30, 36, 37, 38, 39 and 40? — Yes.
In your opinion do you think those exhibits are in the hand-writing of the prisoner? — I do sir; I don’t think there is any doubt about it.
Witness further stated: On the 12th of June this year I charged the prisoner with the three charges with which he is now charged, and he made no reply.
There were no further witnesses called, and Mr. Paling slated that on the evidence he had placed before the magistrates, he asked them to commit prisoner for trial at the ensuing Assizes at Derby on the 2nd of July on the three charges of wilful murder.
The Clerk (to Burrows): Please stand up.
Burrows smartly rose, and was formally charged by the clerk with wilful murder of Hannah Calladine and Albert Edward Burrows on the 11th of January 1920, and with the murder of Elsie Large on the 12th of January 1920. He informed the prisoner that he was not obliged to say anything except he desired to do so, but anything he said would be taken down in writing and given in evidence at his trial. If he desired to call any witnesses he must do so after he had made his statement.
Prisoner (in firm tones): I am not guilty, and I reserve my defence.
The Clerk: That is to all the three charges?
Prisoner: Yes, sir.
The Mayor (to Burrows): The Bench have unanimously decided to send you for trial at the Assizes on the charges already read out to you.
At the close of the Court proceedings, The Mayor, speaking with marked deliberation said I would like to take this opportunity of expressing our admiration of the excellent way in which the police have investigated this matter and brought forward their evidence. But what I wish particularly to call attention to is the remarkable bravery of P.C. Roe and Miner Hilton in carrying our their arduous duties in the air shaft. These men undoubtedly risked their lives every day in carrying out difficult and gruesome duties. Had they failed in their object, I am afraid the disappearance of Hannah Calladine and her two children would have remained a mystery for ever. I hope some representation will be made to the authorities concerning these two men and that they will be recognised in some substantial manner (“Hear, hears” in Court and loud applause.)
Before Burrows was removed from the Court, and as the public were rising and leaving, many of them turned round and loudly “booed” at the prisoner.
Outside, there were further remarkable scenes. A great crowd had congregated in front of the Town Hall, and there was much booing and shouting as Burrows, closely attended by the two warders, was hurried into a waiting taxi, and quickly conveyed up Norfolk Street to the railway station, the taxi being preceded by a motor wagon occupied by several members of the police force. Many of the crowd made on ugly rush to the station entrance, but they were held back by the cordon of police, and prisoner was hustled through the partially closed iron gates and on to the station platform. In company of the warders he thus returned to Strangeways Gaol to await his forthcoming trial at Derby, and as the 1-34 train steamed out of the station, there was loud booing and hissing from the crowd which had assembled in Howard Street and witnessed the departure of the train.
Police Constable Sam Roe, of the Glossop Police Force, and James Hilton, a miner, of Oldham, have earned the gratitude not only of the people of Glossop, but of the nation, by the intrepid daring, resource, and ability which they have recently displayed in recovering from the Dinting Pit air-shaft the remains of Hannah Calladine and her two children!
It was no idle compliment that our Mayor (Coun. S. Bamforth) paid to these two brave fellows at the close of the Police Court proceedings on Wednesday noon, when, in well-chosen words, he commended them for their loyal and splendid work in the cause of justice, and expressed in suitable phraseology, official appreciation of the wonderful care and bravery they had shown in helping towards unravelling one of the most remarkable cases in history. And when our Chief Citizen said he hoped the authorities would extend substantial recognition, the applause in Court was testimony to the popularity of the Constable and miner, and the appreciation of their services felt by the public! As Councillor Bamforth observed, the work had been arduous, dangerous, and gruesome, and had been carried out in the face of tremendous difficulties.
The success which attended the efforts of these two men has given a sort of reflected glory upon all concerned in the operations, and whilst bearing our own testimony to the courage and ability of Constable Roe and Miner Hilton, we feel that a measure of praise is also due to Miner Mee who, along with the other pair, also descended that pit of death and dampness, and rendered yeoman service to the arm of the law.
Many others, in perhaps lesser degree, call for commendation, and had the methods employed but been in keeping with the efforts of the three men named, the story would have been one of unalloyed success. Comment on the latter phase, however, can well be left over for the present!
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Last updated: 29 September 2023