John Loughnan, 46, and his wife Anne were forever quarrelling. Both were heavy drinkers, and on AUGUST 26th, 1901, Loughnan had a particular bone to pick with his wife. She had gone out drinking instead of preparing his dinner, and he suspected she had taken cash from his pocket.
He went out drinking too that night, and on his return to their Salford home he attacked his wife, who was later found dead at the foot of the stairs. She had fallen down them during the struggle, and at Loughnan’s trial for her murder the court heard that it was the fall that killed her, and not the injuries she received in the fight with her husband.
The defence claimed that she had tripped and fallen after the struggle, but the jury decided that Loughnan had knocked her down the stairs. In finding him guilty, however, they strongly recommended mercy because there was no evidence of an intent to kill.
Their recommendation was supported by the judge, and Loughnan’s death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. He was freed after serving nearly nine years.