We welcomed Mr Patrick Robertshaw to our November meeting. Mr Robertshaw gave us a talk on the Kirkheaton Police Murders in 1951.
The story revolved around a man named Alfred Moore (or was it Albert Moore?), who was hanged on the date of the Queen’s accession to the throne. He was a prolific serial burglar specialising in mills and offices. Mr Robertshaw showed us a number of photographs, some of which showed the extent of Moore’s extensive collection of skeleton keys.
He and his family lived at Whinney Close Farm. It was in a remote location which served as an ideal base for his surreptitious activities.
His daughter attended a private school which showed just how lucrative his “business” was (far more so than a farming business could be).
In July 1951 the police decided that it was time to put a stop to his criminal activity. On the fateful night in question, they staked out his property. As he was a mere burglar, no violence was expected. However, gunfire was heard at one of the locations where the police had been waiting to intercept him upon his return home from another night “at the office”. Two policemen had been shot; an inspector, Duncan Fraser, died at the scene of the crime; the constable, Arthur Jagger, died in hospital a few days later, but not before identifying Moore in an identity parade and providing a deposition on his death bed.
On the strength of PC Jagger’s evidence, Moore was charged with murder, tried by jury, convicted and sentenced to be hanged, despite the fact that his property was searched with a fine-tooth comb and no weapon was ever found.
Alfred Moore was hanged on the 6th February 1952, the same date as the Queen’s accession to the throne.
Mr Keith Gill, Vice Chair of the Society, thanked Mr Robertshaw for his fascinating insight into the demise of one of the area’s most notorious criminals. (AB)