Documents relating to Livingstone Thwaite

The following documents mention the trial of Livingstone Thwaite

On 21st October 1909, he murdered Beatrice Cooke with whom he lived at Shroggs Road, having left his wife Margaret Ann Madge Thornton.

The Halifax Evening Courier [22nd October 1909], the Halifax Courier [26th November 1909], and many newspapers throughout the UK, reported

Beatrice is variously recorded as Cook & as Cooke.

Livingstone Thwaites was very well known in Halifax and was a painter (age 27).

He had been a soldier for four or five years but left the service before the Boer war.

After having an attack of pneumonia, he had been acting in a peculiar manner periodically.

In Peel Street, last year, after bidding people Goodbye he dropped over a wall, and people naturally expected to find his dead body at the bottom of the Corporation quarry at Stannary. Fortunately for him, he alighted on a ledge after falling seven or eight feet and was rescued.

Thwaites was an accomplished dart thrower.

His wife commented about his drinking and his ill-treatment of her after drinking and said [he was]

a bad 'un in drink, but a good 'un when sober

He worked as a painter, was often out of work, and she also worked and gave him fowls, pigeons, &c, to fill his time. She heard the sad news of the murder and to use her own words she

dropped and did not believe it

He was, she said

too frightened of his own life to do anything of that sort

She thought, rightly or wrongly that her husband thought the woman he murdered was herself. She said she had no suspicions that her husband was intimately acquainted with Cooke and thinks he brought her along Snake Hill towards what is known as the tip. The tip where the body was found slopes down some 40 feet and then 30 feet to a hole below. The woman's hat of the Merry Widow style, trimmed with feathers and roses, was found at the top of the tip. Beatrice Cooke was also known as Beatrice Smith.

She had left home to go to Lee Bridge Tavern and the prisoner was also there.

Alfred Dunkersley of Fairfield Terrace said Beatrice was his sister-in-law, the wife of Arthur Cooke, a boatman, and was 31 years of age.

Nathan Faulkes, landlord of the Lee Bridge Tavern said Beatrice had been there on 21st October.

Annie Parker daughter of James Parker landlord of the Dusty Miller Inn, Halifax said she had seen Beatrice with the prisoner in the bottle department at about 9:40.

James Binns, iron moulder, living with his mother at the Royal Hotel, Hall Street, Halifax said Beatrice and the prisoner were there at about 10:50. They left going along Hall Street to Pellon Lane.

Harry Radcliffe, a cycle dealer and repairer, of 19 Lee Bridge said he was walking along St James's Road when he saw a man and woman walking behind him. He did not see their faces but they had their arms round each other's waist and were singing. The woman's hat was similar to the one produced in court. He also said the couple stopped outside a fish and chip shop and the man said

We will have a pennyworth of chips here?

but the woman said

No, we won't

He tried to pull her in but she resisted. Radcliiffe said that at the bottom of Angel Road he heard the woman say

I'm going down Stannary Lane

which would have taken her home. The man said

You are going across the tip with me

and the woman tried to drag herself loose.

About 12:30, a man named Bowers of Fairfield Terrace heard a knocking at his door and someone shouting

George, I have done it

Bowers then saw the prisoner and asked

What's up?

and the prisoner replied

I have

killed a woman and left her on the tip Bowers did not credit this and told him to go to bed. Another neighbour heard the prisoner shouting

I have killed Beattie, the only girl in the world I have loved

Prisoner said

Will you look after my cat

and Bowers said

Yes, the prisoner was very fond of the cat

Prisoner then paid visits to several relatives. He knocked-up Thomas Jagger, his wife's stepfather, and gave Jagger two of the deceased woman's rings saying he was to have them as a keepsake.

Jagger asked where he had got them from and the prisoner said

Beattie's fingers

He gave Jagger the knife.

At 2:30, he knocked up his brother John and gave him a third ring that Beattie had worn.

At about three o'clock, he knocked up another brother Walter and prisoner said he had only come to shake hands and then he took his brother to the tip and said

She's just there

but it was so dark he could not see anything.

Prisoner said to his brother

She wanted me to do it Walter, and if someone asks me to do something for them I do it, wouldn't you?

Later the prisoner gave himself up at the police station.

Police found a letter from the prisoner addressed to his wife

Dear wife, I have just realised what I have done.

Forgive me, I ask of you. You see the dirty game I have played, but she asked me to do it and I did it. But I was canned up when I did it.

Comfort dear mother. Tell her I shan't fear nothing, but will face it like a man.

I have put your lives in misery I know, but don't forget I am suffering more than you can tell. But I was a fool, and I can see when it is too late.

So cheer up.

From a man that did love you.


George Bowers, a pavior, of Fairfield Terrace was asked

What about the cat?

Bowers replied

He had it with him

Carrying it?

Yes, on his shoulder, but later he carried it

Bowers was then asked

Did you by any chance happen to be in when he was trying to do a foolish thing

Yes, he was trying to jump on a table backwards

Did he drop heavily on his hand

He did so very heavily

His Lordship asked

He fell?


Yes, he fell backwards against a stone floor

Emily Whiteley, wife of Joe Whiteley of Fairfield Terrace said she heard a conversation between the prisoner and George Bowers. Asked

Did you believe he had killed a woman?

she replied

No, I didn't

Sarah Elizabeth Thwaite wife of John Herbert Thwaite, brother of the prisoner, said he knocked on their door in Freedom Street and was let in when he then gave them a ring and confessed to the murder. John Herbert Thwaite said that when the prisoner told him of the murder, he told him to get some sleep.

You considered he was talking rot?


Did you take him to bed?


How did he go on during the night?

attacked me with a sword

Did he get out of bed

Yes he was on the sofa and sprang up and got the sword which was hanging over the fireplace

Did you get it off him?

Yes, after a struggle I got the better of him

Did you hold him down?

Yes, for about an hour


© Malcolm Bull 2021
Revised 15:32 / 22nd May 2021 / 11223

Page Ref: X476

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