Date of Birth:
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
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
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
at Leeds on 16th august 1900.