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

Perhaps the most gruesome tale ever reported on SalfordOnline.com will be this shocking crime from 100 years ago today.

It was the evening of 26 June 1915 in Salford, and the residents of 22 Hodson Street, a guesthouse in Blackfriars, were asleep when they were disturbed by a terrible commotion.

At around 10pm that night they heard the shrieking sound of their 25-year-old neighbour Margaret Hannon shouting for a man to ‘leave her alone’, which then stopped suddenly.

They assumed the argument was over, but when they awoke the next morning the silence from the room intrigued them, and one man forced entry only to be met with an horrific sight.

Margaret, also known as Lizzie, was laid out on her bed with brutal injuries to her face and head. The poor woman had been so badly battered that her features were almost unrecognisable.

Chief Inspector Clarke of Salford police was called to the scene and his team of officers inspected the gruesome spectacle within the room.

From the condition of the bruising on the body it appeared that she had been struck several times with a belt buckle.

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

Blood was spattered all across the floor and walls and there were the signs of a violent struggle.

On a shelf was found a National Card in the name of Andrew Moran of 18 Berkley Steet, Strangeways, Manchester.

An autopsy found Margaret had several broken ribs, a ruptured liver and bruising all over her head and body.

The cause of death was recorded as haemorrage.

The officers quickly established that the man she had been living with, 34-year-old Andrew Moran, had gone missing from the dwelling shortly after the screams were heard.

Cheif Inspector Clarke whipped his officers into action to track down the suspect, quickly searching nearby lodging houses and even recruitment centres in case he had tried to join the army in a bid to escape.

Moran, a bricklayer’s labourer, was described as being no stranger to the Magistrates Court.

For one previous offence he was charged at Oldham with “living on immoral earnings” from young Lizzie Hannon and served six months in jail.

The implication was clear. Moran was a violent pimp for the 25-year-old.

At the inquest into her death the court tragic testimony from one Patrick Sculley, resident of the lodging house, who said that he had heard shouting, followed by the sound of breaking wood, and Hannon moaning: “Andy, Andy, don’t, please, for God’s sake, you are killing me, I am dying.”

Sculley had heard enough and went upstairs to confront Moran who was also on the stairs. He threatened to thrash Moran unless he kept the noise down.

An hour later the couple began arguing and Moran told Margaret to pass him his pipe. When she told him that she was unable Sculley heard the sound of her being beaten with a belt, and then it all went silent.

What became of Moran is still a mystery.

His name is not listed among the many men hung at Strangeways, nor is it known where he is buried.

If there are any local history researchers in Salford who could help us conclude this tale, please contact tonyflynn@salfordonline.com.

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