In several respects the conduct of 41-year-old Patrick Power was exemplary. After 23 years service he was discharged from the army in December 1924 with an exemplary character record. Although he was unable to find work as a labourer, and was receiving unemployment benefit, he was no spendthrift – he had £40 in the bank. And having committed murder, he again behaved in an exemplary manner. He went straight to the police in Pendleton, Salford, and told them all about it – or as much as he could remember.
After leaving the army he had become a lodger at the Pendleton home of Mrs. Sarah Anne Sykes and her husband. He was on good terms with them, but at the beginning of April 1925 he borrowed £5 from Mrs. Sykes. Then, just before her husband went out at noon on APRIL 11th, he told Power that he would have to leave if the loan were not repaid that day.
Power also went out shortly afterwards, he later told the police. On his return Mrs. Sykes spoke to him about his having paid no rent for the past three weeks. Then, he told detectives, he must have lost all self-control, because he could remember nothing until he found himself standing over his landlady, who was lying partly under her piano.
At 3.30 p.m. he walked into Pendleton police station and said he had killed her. She was still alive when officers arrived at the house, but she died soon after reaching hospital. Power had battered her head with a hammer, also inflicting numerous cuts with a bread knife.
Why did he do it? At his trial at Manchester Assizes his counsel sought a verdict of guilty but insane, claiming that the ferocity of the attack indicated epilepsy, and that Powers mind was also unhinged by spiritualism.
Unimpressed, the jury convicted Patrick Power of murder and he was hanged on May 26th, 1925.