Burkitt was a fisherman who lived in Kingston-upon-Hull, in the north east of England.
The eldest of nine children, he was a world War 1 deserter.
28th August 1915 The body of
married woman Mrs Tyler with several severe throat wounds
was found after Burkitt admitted to his mother that he had
23rd November 1915, he appeared before
a court in York charged with murder of his mistress,
Mrs Mary Jane (Polly) Tyler, Burkitt said during the
trail that they argued over a photo, he stabbed her several
The jury found Burkitt guilty of manslaughter and he was sentenced to twelve years’ imprisonment.
23rd November 1924,,
Burkitt was released from prison after nine years and set up house with
another married women, this tine it was, Ellen Spencer.
3rd November 1925, Ellen's daughter
arrived to visit her mother, she got no answer, and after a
neighbour helped break the door down, the found Ellen
Spencer dead on the floor with stab wounds to her neck.
The police were called, on arrival the police
smelt gas, and on further investigation found the gas was
on, and Burkitt was asleep, but unharmed upstairs,
apparently an attempt to gas himself.
20th November 1925, Burkitt was back
at the courts in York charged with murder. He claimed she
had frightened him when waking him up and he had lashed out
not realising who it was.
Again the jury only found him guilty of manslaughter and this time he was given ten years.
15th August 1935, Burkitt was released
from Dartmoor prison.
This time he set up home with Mrs Emma Brookes. His new partner survived with him for almost four years.
1st March 1939, he arrived unexpectedly at his sister’s house. He stood there foaming at the mouth and he told his sister that he had taken six hundred aspirins. The tablets did not seem to have been having the desired effect so Burkitt left his sister’s and jumped into the River Humber. He was fished out and taken to hospital.
The police were informed of Burkitt’s actions and they went to check out his home. There they found the body of Mrs Brookes,
she had been strangled.
17th May 1939, This time the venue was a court
in Leeds. It must have been almost incomprehensible to the judge, who knew of Burkitt’s history, when the jury returned a guilty to manslaughter verdict for the third time. This time though Burkitt was not so lucky in his sentence as he was given penal servitude for life.
13th May 1954, he was released as an act of mercy, and was admitted to hull hospital, he disappeared in 1955 but was caught not long after.
He died a year later on 24th December 1956.
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