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100 YEARS AGO: THE WEASTE GIRL WHO HAD A CLOSE SHAVE WITH DEATH


History With Flynn

Another story of when love breaks down and young lovers fall apart, happily most relationships don't end  so dramatically as this one.

Letitia Worthington 19, (what a lovely first name) lived in Foster Street, Weaste and had been courting Arthur Dunn 20, who resided at Morpeth Terrace, Salford for a mere six weeks.

On a Sunday evening in January 1920, Dunn called at Letitia's home and asked if she would marry him, she declined his offer and after a few choice words, slammed the door shut in his face,

The next morning she was on Eccles New Road when the persistent suitor once again approached her and said,

"So, what have you decided to do then?"

To which she replied

"I have given you up, I am marrying James Smith"

She had kept him quiet until now, but not the answer young Mr Dunn wished to hear.

He then took out a cut throat razor from inside his jacket, wiped it over his handkerchief and said,

"Neither Smith nor anyone else will have you, I will do you in myself"

Fortunately for Letitia she spotted P.C. Hartley and D.C. Coates walking down the road, always there when you need them aren't they?

She told them what Dunn had said and threatened, he was arrested and taken into custody were he told the constable,

"I intended doing her in, I'm sorry I didn't do it last night, if you don't arrest me I will do it later"

Hardly making it easy for himself is he, I thought you were supposed to say nothing in the police station...

The next day he appeared at Salford Magistrates Court charged with making threats against her.

Stepping into the witness box, Letitia was described by the journalist as being,

"A tall, slim sharp featured girl".  Is that a compliment?

She told the Stipendiary that she had been seeing Dunn for only a few weeks and when he knocked on her door asking her to marry him, she told him that she had no intention and was staying at home looking after her invalid mother, furthermore she intended marrying James Smith.

P.C. Hartley took the stand and told the court that he saw Letitia in a distressed state and when he asked Dunn what was the matter, he told him that he intended, "doing her in".

D.C. Coates then took the stand and said that Dunn had never been in trouble with the police before.

Strangely enough he told the court that Dunn had left school aged 11 because of "a little mental deficiency" from which he had recovered and now worked for the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company.

What on earth is "a little mental deficiency"?

Then even more bizarrely the Stipendiary bound Dunn over for 12 months with a surety of £20 or if in default 14 days imprisonment!

Now that is a remarkably lenient sentence, he had admitted that he wanted to kill her and would do so in the future, yet was allowed to walk free.

Can you imagine the uproar if Dunn had carried out his threats at a later date, who would the finger of blame point at then, and possibly to late to save Letitia's life, a strange case.

 


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