Louisa May Merrifield

Louisa Merrifield - Blackpool Poisoner
AKABlackpool Poisoner
DOB3 Dec 1906
Kill Total1
Kill PlaceBlackpool
Kill Date14 April 1953
VictimSarah Ricketts - 79
CourtManchester Assizes
JudgeMr. Justice Glynn-Jones
ProsceutionSir Lionel Heal 
DefenceMr. Nahum
Case No:

 Louisa had been married three times, her final marriage was in February 1953 when she married 71-year-old Alfred Edward Merrifield.  During the precceding years she had given birth to four children by her first husband, Joseph Ellison, but, she had lost custody of all of them.  

Ellison died in 1949 and she married 78-year-old Richard Watson who died only ten weeks later. Louisa had served time in prison during 1946 for ration book fraud.  She normally worked as a domestic and had over 20 different jobs in the three years leading up to the murder.

12th March 1853, Louisa and her third husband Alfred Merrifield took job's as domestic servants for 87-year-old spinster, Sarah Ricketts, It would seem that Louisa, who had already served time for fraud had no intention of working too hard for her new employer. Mrs. Ricketts owned a very nice bungalow in Blackpool, and Louisa was heard saying that she was to inherit a bungalow.

9th April 1953, Louisa asked a local doctor to certify Mrs Ricketts was of sound mind. This he did, Louisa then administered rat poison to her beloved jam, Mrs Ricketts was known to eat jam directly from the jar with a spoon.

12th April 1953, Louisa told friend Mrs Brewer, while in a local pub, that she must go home to lay out an elderly woman.  Mrs Brewer asked who had died and Louisa replied “She’s not dead yet, but she soon will be.” 

Tuesday 14th April 1953, Mrs Ricketts was found dead, suspicion was on the Merrifield's, especially after Louisa's friend Mrs. Brewer read about the death in the paper and reported the suspicious conversation to the police. A post mortem was ordered, the rat poison Rodine was found in her system, the Merrifield couple were duly arrested.

20th July 1953, At Manchester Assizes Louisa was found guilty, husband Alfred was acquitted due to lack of evidence. He was released and inherited a half-share in the late Mrs. Ricketts' bungalow. He died, aged 80, in 1962.

Friday 18th September 1953, Louisa was hanged, the last woman ever to be hanged at Manchester's Strangeways prison, by executioner Albert Pierrepoint.

 Back >>