Thursday, 14 August 2014

The Execution of Alfred Bostock

Yet another love triangle that resulted in a murder and a one way trip to the scaffold for the culprit.  Affairs of the heart will always put to the side the fatal consequences that always finish these events.  The relationship between crane driver Alfred David Bostock, and Elizabeth Sherratt.  Elizabeth worked in the offices at the Parkgate Iron Works in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, where she was frequently asked out on dates by the admiring workforce.  She turned them all down, earning her the nickname of "Miss untouchable."  They were not to know that the 24 year old was at that time, having a secret relationship with 25 year old Bostock.  There was a very big fly in the ointment.  As ever, one of them was married.  Alfred Bostock.  He had told Elizabeth that he was very unhappy, and would seek a divorce, but this was simply a ruse to string Elizabeth along.  He wanted to keep having Elizabeth as a "bit on the side" whilst never intending to go through a possibly costly divorce.  To keep the affair from becoming known to the workforce, Elizabeth left the Ironworks and found a job at a cinema.  Bostock suddenly became an avid film fan.

    This cosy affair was to turn to bloodshed, when Elizabeth told her lover that she was pregnant.  Bostock was furious.  Elizabeth thought this would prompt him to get on with obtaining a divorce.  But she could not have been more wrong.  On Sunday 3rd May 1925, a body of a woman was found in the River Don, near Roundwood Colliery, in the Rawmarsh district of Rotherham.  The body was identified as Elizabeth Sherratt.  Her skull had suffered massive blunt force trauma, and the blood evidence at the side of the river, indicated she had struggled with her assailant.  Police searched her home and found numerous love letters from Bostock, so he was immediately arrested.  Bostock admitted he was her lover and indeed, had been with her on the day in question, but only for a very short time.  He claimed to have spent a few hours drinking in a pub, The Forge & Rail Mill, but no customer in there that night, recalled seeing him at all.  His alibi had crumbled and he was convicted of murder and sentenced to death.  He was hanged at Armley Prison in Leeds on 3rd September 1925, alongside Wilfrid Fowler, condemned to death for a murder in Sheffield, during the "Sheffield Gang Wars".  Lawrence Fowler, also condemned, was hanged the following day.