25 April 1952 – Edward Devlin and Alfred Burns
Alfred Burns (pictured left) and Edward Devlin (right) were a couple of Mancunian mates, who’d chalked up a whole heap of crimes between them before they were done for torturing and bludgeoning a woman to death in her own home.
The woman was Beatrice Rimmer and she was rumoured to have some cash stashed away in her Liverpudlian house. A sitting target, the 54-year-old was found battered to death, although no single blow was reported to have killed her – instead it’s believe she torturously died of the sum of her injuries.
Apparently the crime was concocted in jail – a fellow jailbird by the name of George McLaughlin was in on it and the plan was for a female accomplice to distract Rimmer by keeping her talking on the doorstep while the others did the house over. But that’s not quite how it turned out and the robbery took place with fatal results.
The female accomplice and McLaughlin came forward after the murder and the police gained enough info on the duo to haul them in from Manchester to Liverpool for questioning.
But the boys’ defence was seemingly bizarre. They refused to admit they were to blame, instead they vowed that they were robbing a factory at the time the murder was being committed. They even had an alibi from a fellow robber who helped them on the job.
But despite the hapless pair’s continued pleas of innocence, the jury wouldn’t believe the boys and they found in favour of the prosecution.
There was a glimpse of freedom after the Home Secretary asked for a review of their case, but it didn’t amount to much and the boys’ death sentence remained intact.
The lads were just in their early 20s when they were strung up. Devlin was 22 and Burns 21 when Albert Pierrepoint headed up the execution.
According to the ‘Liverpool Echo’, their case has recently been identified as a possible mistake and questions remain as to whether they were actually guilty or not…the evidence was circumstantial, after all.