Twenty-four-year-old Christopher Jackson was trouble for all who knew him, and his nearest and dearest were no exception. He frequently stole cash and other items from his relatives and others, and this landed him in borstal. Then in 1935 he joined the army, only to be discharged shortly afterwards following a conviction for theft.
By the spring of 1936 he was living in lodgings at Chester-Ie-Street, County Durham, and was in arrears with his rent. On JUNE 30th he told his landlady he was going to Catterick to collect money due to him from the army. He instead travelled the 10 miles to Sunderland to call on his 61-year-old aunt Harriet Linney, a street bookmaker who had previously given him money.
That evening he returned to his lodgings and settled some of his debts. Meanwhile Mrs. Linney had been found dead at her home, killed by blows to her head which were believed to have been delivered with a bottle. Her house had been ransacked, a large amount of small change was missing, and Jackson was the prime suspect.
Searching his lodgings, the police found about £9 in small silver in a suitcase, and he was arrested. He told officers that when he went to ask his aunt for money she refused to give him any, called him names and told him to clear off, causing him to lose his temper and strike her.
At his trial for her murder his defence counsel sought a manslaughter verdict on the grounds of provocation, claiming that Mrs. Linney had attacked Jackson first and had tried to push him out of the house.
But the jury rejected this story, and Jackson was executed at Durham Prison on November 4th, 1936.