After their marriage in 1918, John Nightingale and his bride Lucy OConnor lived together briefly in Liverpool. Then while Nightingale was working away in Glasgow, he learned that two men were having affairs with his bride. The couple split, and Lucy went to work as a prostitute in London, living in a house in Prah Road, Finsbury Park.
Her landlord Henry Ball was well aware of her occupation, and early in the morning of JULY 29th, 1919, he walked into a police station to report that he had found her dead on her bed.
He was kept at the station while officers went to the house, where they found 30-year-old Lucys partially dressed body. She had been trussed- up with strips of sheets and blankets and pieces of her lingerie, and then strangled.
Back at the police station, Ball said that on the previous day hed had a drink in a public house with two seamen, Harold Morgan and Frank George Warren, a 31-year-old ships cook who was also known as Burke. Morgan had spent the previous night with Lucy Nightingale, and it had been the intention of Warren to spend the night of the 28th with her.
The two suspects were soon found and arrested, Warren claiming that he had accompanied Morgan to the house at his request to recover some money from Lucy. It was Morgan, he said, who had strangled her.
Morgan said he had gone to the house with Warren, and Lucy had invited them to stay the night. He stayed in the kitchen with Ball, and Warren went upstairs with Lucy.
Then there was a scream, Morgan said, and Warren ran downstairs and told him to leave with him. He did so, Morgan told the police, because he did not want to remain alone as he didnt know London.
Both men were charged with murder, and Henry Ball was charged with being an accessory after the fact. But before the case was heard at the Old Bailey, the charge against Ball was dropped and he became a key witness for the prosecution.
The court heard that several of Lucy Nightingales belongings had been found in Warrens possession, and he had also taken her gold rings, giving them to his girlfriend.
On the second day of the trial, Morgan was acquitted. You have been in a very unpleasant position for a long time owing to the company you keep and to your own immorality, said Mr. Justice Darling, discharging him. Make up your mind to lead a better life.
Warren was then convicted. Sentencing him to death, the judge told him: You were determined to kill that woman for whatever little money or possessions she may have had, and you ruthlessly strangled her. More atrocious conduct than yours can hardly be conceived. It is my duty to warn you that unless there is some flaw in these proceedings, there can be no hope whatever but that you will forfeit your life for the life you have taken.
No flaw was found, and the 41-year-old killer was hanged by John Ellis and George Brown on October 7th, 1919.