Cheeky Chomper Caught

A Lozells man bit off more than he could chew back in 1951 when found guilty of theft from chomping on a chocolate bar.

Cast of the offender's teeth

Cast of the offender’s teeth

The case of Hugh Creaney Laverty was a rare one in the 1950s because it was his teeth marks that proved his guilt.

The 30 year old was sentenced to two years in prison after forcing open a safe and stealing cash at Messrs Shanks and Company in Birmingham in January 1951.

The thief found a bar of Crest chocolate in an office drawer and tucked in, leaving it half eaten.

Mr Anderson, a lecturer in prosthetics at Birmingham University, was able to make an impression of the accused’s teeth and match them to marks left in the chocolate.

A striking feature in the impressions was the feature of missing teeth in the upper jaw, which matched that of Hugh Creaney Laverty’s teeth, proving his guilt.

The Drunks Blacklist

Back in the early nineteen hundreds, photo albums were not just used to showcase memorable events. In the Police Museum one special photo album names and shames local habitual Birmingham drunkards.

The drunks blacklist

The drunks blacklist – Thomas Lawin

The ‘Black List’ album, which featured photographs and descriptions of drunken louts was brought into practice not long after the Licensing Act was introduced in 1902.

The information provided and shared amongst publicans was very detailed because it was an offence to knowingly sell alcohol to drunk people. Licensed premises flouting the law could be closed down in an instant by the police of the district.

Characters in the album include:

Alice Tatlow

Alice Tatlow

25 year old Alice Tatlow from George Street West – who was well known by local publicans for her regular drunk and disorderly behaviour. Described as a ‘Polisher and Prostitute’, stout built Alice not only had her photograph on the Black List, there were also details of the four tattoos on her hands and arms.

Homeless 50 year old Thomas Lawin – found drunk in a pub in 1903, he was sentenced to 14 days hard labour and ordered to pay 10 shillings and costs.

Fire starter murder

Domestic violence is not a new crime. Many a Victorian lady suffered ill-treatment at the hands of a man. Back then there were not the range of charities and support groups to support women in violent situations that there are now and reporting such issues to the police were virtually unheard of.

G Fanny portraitOne Victorian lady who decided to meet out her own punishment on her abusive partner was Fanny Gilligan.

Back in 1911 42 year old Fanny had had enough of being treated badly by her partner James Higgins. Claiming he had ill-treated her and kicked her with his hob-nail boots she plotted out her revenge – murder.

When on a fateful winter’s day in December, a drunk James asked Fanny to take his boots off, she took her opportunity to pour lamp oil down his legs and put a match to him before running out of the room.

After James was taken to hospital, Fanny was found on the bathroom floor with a bottle of beer in one hand and a hobnail boot she claimed James had just kicked her with in the other.

She was sentenced to death, but there must have been some recognition that she too was a victim because the sentence was reduced to a 15 year prison term.

Heartbroken Henry Hung

henry-kimberleyA scorned Birmingham lover ended his life on the end of the hangman’s noose after a failed reconciliation attempt with his ex-girlfriend.

In 1884, 53 year old Henry Kimberley followed his former girlfriend, Mrs Harriet Steward to the White Hart Beer House in Paradise Street, Birmingham. She was staying there with her friend and wife of the publican, Mrs Emily Palmer.

Harriet and Henry had previously lived together but had argued so much they had finally parted, with Henry promising to leave her alone. Henry convinced Harriet to come back, but their problems continued, and a few days before Christmas he threatened to shoot her.

Harriet had escaped to her friend Emily’s pub when Henry found her and tried to convince her to come back to him. After a long conversation, he calmly asked her, “Have you determined – are you going to live with me or not?” To which she replied “No, I am not”.

Henry then drew a gun out of his pocket and deliberately fired at her head. The bullet hit the left side of her skull and she fell to the floor. Emily Palmer ran to help her friend but Henry shot her in the neck.

After a desperate struggle involving a postman and a butcher, PC William Hart arrested Henry Kimberley and took the gun off him.

Emily Palmer later died in hospital from her injuries.

Henry was found guilty of murder and in March 1885, was hung within the precincts of Her Majesty’s Prison Winson Green, Birmingham

Driving the Jam Sandwich

‘Jam sandwiches’ were the nickname for fast police cars back in the 70s. Cars like the Rover 3500 were painted white with a red stripe down the side.

A 'jam sandwich' out on the streets in 1979

A ‘jam sandwich’ out on the streets in 1979

However these sandwiches could move.  With a V8 engine they could achieve speeds of around 125 miles an hour and could easily out pace most other vehicles on the road. In fact in the early days the only way an officer could detect a vehicle’s speed was to run alongside it and then read their own speedometer.

It’s hard to imagine it these days, but back in the 70s high performance cars were only driven by the very rich, royalty or police officers. Hence the attraction of the job for many a small boy.

A 'jam sandwich' out on the streets in 1979

A ‘jam sandwich’ out on the streets in 1979

They captured the imagination of scriptwriters as well, featuring in shows such as The Sweeney and Minder.

We have been lucky enough to find some old footage of one of our very own Rover 3500’s being taken for a test spin. The footage was silent but reminded us of another great TV programme from the 70s – Top Gear.

So we have taken the liberty of imagining just what Top Gear might have had to say about our ‘jam sandwich’ – we hope it puts a smile on your face.