Murder UK

We are proud to be on the recommended reading lists of many university and colleges around the world, and are regularly used by TV and film companies conducting research. We are delighted to be acknowledged in many leading crime books. We are the original murder site since 1993.

Murder UK is a site dedicated to documenting and investigating murder in the UK. We aim to be precise with facts and avoid speculation. If however you find discrepancies please contact us




Kill Total: 2 Kill place: London
Kill date:  10th July 1900 Victim(s): Ada Beecroft
Date of Birth: unknown Marital Status: Single






Although Thomas Mellor did indeed kill both his daughters, he was found not guilty of the murder of Annie Beecroft, but only because no evidence was offered on that charge after he had been found guilty of the murder of Ada. The circumstances of the case were such that the person who murdered Ada, must also have killed Annie.

The Beecroft girls were Thomas Mellor's illegitimate daughters, their mother, Ada Beecroft, having been committed to the Menston Asylum, where she died in November 1899. Some time before Ada's death, Mellor had moved in with another woman named Priscilla Redshaw, but this entire group were evicted from their lodgings at 6 Fourth Court, on 4th May 1900.

On 5th May, Mellor went to visit his brother, Arthur. Thomas, Priscilla and the two girls were by now living in very squalid conditions and he wanted to ask Arthur if he would allow him and the others to move into his home, but Arthur replied that there was simply not enough room.

Arthur's wife was concerned about what would happen now and asked Thomas what he would do with the children, especially as he had also been unsuccessful in getting them admitted to the workhouse. Thomas was heard to reply; "The water is big enough to hold them and me and all."

At about nine thirty on the evening of May 11th, Thomas Mellor took his daughters out, telling Priscilla that they would be back at about ten the following morning. The three were later seen by two women, who spoke briefly to Mellor, and would later report that he told them he did not know what he was going to do with his children.

At eleven that same night, a man was seen walking along the pathway of the Leeds/Liverpool canal. He had with him two small children, both girls. Later still, at eleven thirty, the same man was seen in a local restaurant where he spent the night. He no longer had the children with him and he would later be identified as Thomas Mellor.

The bodies of the two girls were found early on the morning of 12th May, by a man named William Wilson. Mellor was soon arrested and confessed to putting the girls into the canal. He went on to claim though that he had no intention of drowning them. His defence was that as he was about to get onto the canal pathway, he passed two men and thought that if he put the girls into a shallow part of the canal, their cries would attract these two men who would then be forced to offer asistance and thereby the girls would be taken into care.

The judge, quite rightly, pointed out that if this was indeed Mellor's intention, it would surely have made more sense for him to simply abandon the girls on the street, where they would have eventually have been found by a constable.

The jury returned a verdict of guilty but with a strong recommendation to mercy on the rather astonishing grounds of the prisoner's kindness to his children. mercy was not shown, he was part of the first double hanging of the century with Charles Backhouse at Leeds on 16th august 1900.