In her own way Louie Calvert was a clever schemer. But not clever enough. At 33 her scheming took her to the gallows…

In 1925 she became housekeeper to a night-watchman, Alfred Calvert, at his home in Leeds. Before long she told him she was pregnant and talked him into marrying her. Calvert was unaware that his bride was a prostitute and a convicted petty thief, who’d already had two illegitimate children.

Then as months passed with no sign of her claimed pregnancy, he began asking awkward questions. Finally in March 1926 Louie told him she was going to Dewsbury to stay with her sister for her confinement. And to Dewsbury she went, staying long enough only to send her husband a telegram saying she’d arrived. Then she took the next train back to Leeds and took lodgings with Mrs. Lily Waterhouse, a 40-year-old widow.

To sustain her subterfuge she needed a baby to pass off as her own, so she found a teenage unmarried mother who let her adopt her recently born daughter. Then at the beginning of April Louie Calvert rejoined her husband, presenting him with “their” baby.

Meanwhile on MARCH 31st Mrs. Waterhouse had gone to the police, complaining that her lodger Louie had stolen and pawned some of her property. The police arranged for her to apply the next day for a summons, and when she failed to attend court an officer went to her home and found her body. Mrs. Waterhouse had been battered and strangled to death.

Neighbours said they had heard noises the previous evening, for which Louie had given them conflicting explanations. Traced to her home, she answered the door wearing Mrs. Waterhouse’s clothes. Cutlery, more household items and more clothes belonging to Mrs. Waterhouse were also found in Louie’s possession, and she was charged with her landlady’s murder.

Pleading “Not guilty” when she appeared at Leeds Assizes, she claimed that Mrs. Waterhouse had given her all the items found in her possession. But would the victim, the prosecution asked, have given away her only pair of boots?

Convicted and sentenced to death, Louie Calvert confessed to another murder while she awaited execution. The victim was John Frobisher, whose housekeeper she had been under the name of Louisa Jackson. His body had been found in a canal in 1922.

Having told all – or all she was prepared to tell – Louie Calvert kept her own date with death on June 26th, 1926, on the scaffold at Manchester’s Strangeways Prison.