“Grandpa was drunk and he tried to kill me!” four-year-old Jimmy Dawes piped up to his mother. The child was badly cut, but because he was a bit of a dreamer, his mother and the rest of the family decided he was telling porkies and must have been in an accident.

It was true, though, that grandpa – 57-year-old factory worker Joseph Holden – was becoming a nuisance around the house because of his drinking. His daughter Mary, mother of Jimmy, had told him: “You’re a bad influence on the children. I think you should go and live somewhere else.”

Holden seethed with resentment. He was the father of seven children and he thought it was about time that they all looked after him. In an act of horrific revenge on Mary he had indeed tried to kill little Jimmy. When he failed, and the boy wasn’t believed, he killed Jimmy’s brother, eight-year-old John, a fortnight later and threw his body into Limefield Quarry, near his home in Nuttall Street, Bury.

“I did it to get even with her,” he told police who found the body. He pleaded guilty to murder at Manchester Assizes on November 13th, 1900, and was hanged on Tuesday, December 4th, 1900, at Strangeways Prison. Victorian murder stories from True Crime Library.

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