full screen background image

100 years ago: Revelation as shock Salford murderer finally caught

In May 2015 SalfordOnline.com told you the tale of an horrific murder that was committed 100 years ago in Salford.

At the time, our history researchers didn’t know the end of the story.

But we’ve unearthed new information which suggests that crime never pays, and justice finally caught up with the killer after he went on the run.

Poor 25-year-old Margaret ‘Lizzie’ Hannon was the victim in the case, and the details may just put you off your lunch.

It was the evening of 26 June 1915 in Salford. Margaret’s neighbours, at 22 Hodson Street in Blackfriars, were woken up by the sound of shouting and crashing furniture.

strong>100 years ago in Salford: Mystery of Margaret Hannon’s brutal murder continues

It was around 10pm when the shrill sound of Margaret screeching for a man to ‘leave her alone’ suddenly stopped dead.

The neighbours were so worried, they called in the police, and Chief Inspector Clarke of the Salford force spelled out the gruesome details.

His officers found Margaret spreadeagled on the bed with a series of horrific injuries.

In the bedroom they found a broken broomstick and pair of bloodstained boots with human hair stuck to the soles.

The pathologist told police the girl had been struck several times in the face with a brass belt buckle, while blood spattered the walls and floor and there were scratches to the door that indicated a violent struggle.

The coroner’s office found that whoever killed Margaret had also broken four of her ribs, ruptured her liver by beating, and bruised her head and body so badly that she was almost unrecognisable.

Her partner at the time was a 34-year-old bricklayer’s labourer called Andrew Moran, whose National Identity Card was found on Margeret’s shelf.

His lodging house in Strangeways was empty, and police began started a national manhunt for the missing Moran, but that’s where our original story ended.

Read: Moran ‘was violent pimp’, went on the run

However, we can reveal today that justice finally caught up with the killer when he was arrested in Stafford in May 1916.

Acting on information received from the public, Sergeant Williams and PC Scott visited Lock Farm at Tixall, Stafford and found a man in bed who gave his name as John Ward.

Eventually after just half an hour of questioning he admitted that he was Andrew Moran.

He was taken to the nearest police station for questioning where he admitted that he knew Margaret Hannon, but he been “off the drink for months and that she was alive when he last saw her in Salford”.

He was arrested on suspicion of murder and taken to Salford for further questioning about the brutal murder.

At Salford magistrates he denied that he had killed his one-time partner and stated once again to the court that she was alive when he last her in June 1915.

He was remanded to the Quarter Sessions where he again pleaded not guilty.

It may be fitting to recall here that at his trial, a number of eyewitnesses testified that they had seen Moran with Margaret Hannon and they were known to be a volatile couple.

Neighbours would frequently step in to separate the pair and it was usually Moran handing out the beatings, often with a belt or with his boots.

Mr Gibbons, prosecuting, told the jury that if they thought that the murder had taken place whilst Moran was under the influence of drink, they would consider a verdict of manslaughter through diminished responsibility.

Mr Sandbach, defending, suggested that the prisoner was incapable of knowing what he was doing after “a sordid night’s drinking” and did not want to question Moran in the witness box.

The jury unanimously agreed that Moran had committed the killing, but returned a verdict of manslaughter.

The Judge, Justice Horrocks told Moran that this was a merciful view to have taken of his terrible crime and that they had done so on the grounds that he had been “so shockingly drunk” as not to be responsible for what he was doing.

He then sentenced Andrew Moran to 15 years penal servitude imprisonment – this meant that he would be forced to do hard labour whilst serving his sentence.

A very sad and shocking tale indeed – all we can conclude is that when crime is committed we hope justice will be served and the guilty punished.

If you have a local history mystery you’d like SalfordOnline.com to solve, email tonyflynn@salfordonline.com.

Facebook Comments

SalfordOnline.com's Local History Editor and Senior Reporter.