Murder and Crime in Leeds

Discover the dark side of Leeds with this remarkable collection of true life crimes and villainous deeds from across the city. Featuring all factions of the criminal underworld – including reports of murder, robbery, treason and assault- this macabre selection of tales feature the case of John Deardon who took a revolver to his young wifes head, and that of forty four year old Ann Barber who poisoned her husband with arsenic disguised in a roasted apple. Drawing on a wide variety of historical sources and containing many cases which have never before being published Murder and Crime: Leeds is sure to fascinate everyone interested in true crime and the history of the city.

Chapter List



Case One:        Petty Treason – The Case of Ann Barber 1821

Case Two:       A Cure for Teething – The Death of Baby William 1838

Case Three:     Murder in the Bell and Bull Yard – A Case of Domestic Violence 1838

Case Four:       Was it the Salt Man- The Mystery of Christopher Winders Death 1841

Case Five:       An Evil Ménage a Trois – The Curious Poisoning of Sarah Scholes              1842

Case Six:         Death of a Young Sweetheart – The Execution of Thomas Malkin 1849

Case Seven:    Solved by a Pawn Ticket – The Case of Charles Normington 1859

Case Eight:      Attempted Murder of a Shopkeeper – The Trial of John Kenworthy               1860

Case Nine:      The Wanton Wife – The Acquittal of John Dearden 1872

Case Ten:        Murder at Oulton Hall – The Execution of John Darcy 1879

Case Eleven:   Murder at the Tea Shop – The Death of Margaret Laidler 1883

Case Twelve:  A Lethal Attack – The case of Samuel Harrison 1890

Extract From the Book

Death of a Sweetheart:


Esther Inman was only 15 years of age when she started work at the flax spinning mill of Messrs W B Holdsworth and Co of Hunslet, near Leeds. At the same time she attended and sang in the choir of the Primitive Methodist church at Hunslet. It was at this point that she met Thomas Malkin aged 17, who was a wood turner by trade and employed at the same spinning mill. The liaison was accepted by her family and friends and the young couple enjoyed each others company for over a year. So it was to everyone’s surprise when Ester told Malkin that she didn’t want to see him any more. Instead of accepting the situation gracefully he became more and more obsessed with her refusal. On the morning of Sunday 8th October 1848, both Esther and Malkin had attended church separately and later that night he arrived unexpectedly at her house. Esther had been to see her younger sister who was in service at Kirkstall and had returned home about 9.50pm. She lived at the house of her stepfather, Thomas Watson a tailor of Hunslet, along with her mother and elder sister. The family also had other visitors at the house that night, a mother and daughter called Ann and Mary Ann Smith. As Mary Ann left the house, she saw Malkin hanging around and he told her that he wanted to see Esther for a moment. Esther had already taken off her boots prior to retiring, but she patiently put them on again and went outside to talk to him. At the same time both Smith’s left the house and Thomas Watson saw them off, all three clearly seeing Esther talking to Malkin at the back gate. Esther had only been outside about five minutes when her step father heard her cry out, and rushing outside found her laid prostrate on the garden. He picked her up in his arms and carried her indoors. She cried out ‘Lord help me’ and ‘Lord have mercy on me’. Laying her down he saw that Malkin had cut her throat in two places and she had defence wounds up her arms. Indeed one of the blows to her arm had been so vicious, that Malkin’s dagger had broken and the point of the blade was still embedded in her flesh. In the folds of her right hand sleeve was also found another dagger. Several witnesses stated that they had seen Malkin talking to Esther by the garden gate and heard her cry out and saw him run out of the garden. A surgeon was called and arrived at the same time as the police constable, however within the hour she was dead.

2 thoughts on “Murder and Crime in Leeds

  1. Hi, Margaret.
    Back in the late 70’s (I believe?) a man, who’d just nipped out to the shop, was murdered at Leek Street Flats (Hunslet Grange) and it wasn’t until the late 90’s that the case was solved by cops who’d arrested a man on totally unrelated charges who then came clean that he and an accomplice had murdered this man, “just to see how it felt to kill someone” being that they were contemplating a serious crime where they might have to kill someone for it to succeed. So; the Leek Street Flats man was murdered by two complete psychopaths. This is my second attempt at trying to find the story online, to no avail? I was wondering if you knew about this case?

    Kind regards,

    John Christie

  2. Hi John, Do you have any names for this case, which might help me to find something. I can have a look at some notes I took at the time and see if I can dig anything up on it.

    Best wishes


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