When Birmingham officer Detective Constable Thomas Hibbs, 23, was murdered in the city centre on Monday, AUGUST 10th, 1901, he had been taking a special look at the LNER goods depot in Curzon Street because several bags of coal had been stolen from there in previous weeks. Suddenly he saw three men dragging bags of coal towards the depot entrance.

The men ran into Fazeley Street and along a canal, with Hibbs in hot pursuit, blowing his whistle. At some point the three men turned on him, grabbed his truncheon and knocked him unconscious with it. Then they threw him into the canal, where he drowned.

Three men, Frank Parslow, 24, Charles Webb, 21, and William Billingsley, 21, were arrested within hours of the body being found. Yet despite the fact that Billingsley admitted they had attacked the officer, and a coal sack was found at the home of Parslow, murder charges against all three of them were thrown out for lack of evidence. The case was never solved.