Date Of Execution: 17 Jul 1946
Crime Location: Bobbies Manicure Saloon, 7 Tempest Hey, Liverpool
Execution Place: Liverpool
Thomas Hendren murdered his girlfriend Ella Valentine Staunton 41 who he stabbed and strangled at Bobbies Manicure Saloon, 7 Tempest Hey, Liverpool on 20 May 1946.
He murdered her whilst being observed by two policemen who were in the room above looking through a vent.
Thomas Hendren said in his statement 'All I want to say is that I did it'.
Whilst being driven from from Salford on the morning of 23 May 1946 he said to a policeman 'I should have done it years ago. She's had plenty out of me, over a hundred pounds in five years i've known her and when I asked her to lend me a couple of quid she wouldn't, so it happened. I got about ten pounds out of her bag, a five pound note and five ones. You'll find my trousers in a public lavatory near the roundabout in Warrington. I bought the box opener in Lewis's that morning. I thought of breaking in somewhere'.
On 20 May 1946 two policemen went into 9 Tempest Hey which was occupied by Charles B Hall, Engravers and Rubber Stamp Makers to keep observation on Bobbies Manicure Saloon which was immediatly below the workhop. They removed a piece of wooden flooring about 12 inches by 5 inches which gave them visibility through a metal grating through to the cubicles below. They took it in turns from 4.30pm to lie on their stomachs with a mac over their heads to keep watch.
When they started they could hear the muffled sounds of Ella Staunton and a customer but because of the noise in the workshop they could not hear what was being said. After a few minutes the policemen swapped over and then again after a few minutes swapped over again and then the voices became louder and they saw the head and shoulders of a man in an adjoining cubicle silhouetted against the table lamp. He was facing Tempest Hey and opposite him they saw the head and shoulders of a woman and heard the murmur of converation and then the woman moved out of the cubicle and out of sight. They then saw the man put a cigarette to his mouth and light it and then move out of sight and sit down and then heard the woman shout from another part of the building and then come into the room with a bowl of water and sit down but they could only see the top opf her head and the man was then completly hidden by a wooden partition. The woman bent forwaard and put some cotton wool into the bowl of water and they could see the manshand across the arm of the chair with a lit cigarette between his fingers. The woman then stood up and then the man stood up and and moved out of the cubicle and then the woman bent down to pick up the bowl and then they saw the man come up behind her although they could not see his face and there was a scuffle and a scream and the scuffle appeared to move out into the passageway and they could not see anything of the struggle taking place. They then asked the workmen to keep quiet and then listened for a few seconds but could neither see nor hear anything.
They then went out into Tempest Hey and one of the policemen went to stand outside the door of the saloon which was the only way in or out and the other policeman went over to Exchange Station where he called the saloon from a public telephone kiosk. He said that from the noise on the phone it sounded like the reciever was lifted off but he recieved no reply.
The policeman then went back to the saloon and they knocked on the door which was secured by a Yale lock but got no reply. They were stood talking on the steps when Thomas Hendren came out and shut the door behind him before they could stop him. The policemen then told him who they were and that they had heard a woman scream and asked him what had occurred and where the woman was and Thomas Hendren replied 'She is alright, she is in there with a man.'. the police then asked him for his identity card and Thomas Hendren pulled out a bundle of papers from his inside jacket pocket and showed them a Merchant Navy Clothing Coupon Book and his National Health Insurance Card with his name and address on it.
The police then knocked again and Thomas Hendren said 'Theres a man in, she wont answer for a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes. You know what Ella is, shes a prostitute.'. the police then handed him back his papers and let him go.
The police continued to knock on the door and went to the adjoining premises, Stanton Engineering Co., where they phoned the saloon but just got n engaged tone. after knocking a few more times they burst the door in and entered.
The carpet in the passage was ruffled and in the small passage leading to the lounge was lying a pair of lady's shoes. The lounge was lit by a large standard lamp and just inside the doorway of the lounge they saw the body of Ella Staunton lying on her back. She had a piece of electric flex with a single turn tied tightly round her neck and her face appeared to be badly battered and she was covered in blood. They cut the wire but she appeared to be dead. THey then searched the premises but found nobody else to be there.
Ella Staunton had been trading from 7 Tempest Hey for about 18 months and carried on her business alone, unaided by other woman.
At 5pm on 20 May 1946 Thomas Hendren called for a cab from The Ocean Club, Lord Street, Liverpool and went to Huyton station stopping of the way a couple of times to buy a Macintosh coat as he said his clothes were dirty. The manageress of a drapers and gents outfitters shop at 99 Picton Road, Liverpool said that between 5.00 and 5.30pm Thomas Hendren came in and asked for a mackintosha dn seemed to be in a great hurry. She said that she went to a stand near the door where there was a mackintosh on display and showed it to him and he tried it on without buttoning it and said that it was fine and asked how much it was. The manageress said that she didnt know and that the owner was out and so Thomas Hendren said that he would leave a pound but she asked him to leave two pounds and Thomas Hendren agreed leaving both the money and his clothing coupon book saying that he would come back for it the next day along with the change. When the manager returned she found that the price of the coat was £2.0.0d. Whilst in the shop Thomas Hendren also asked to see some hats and tried a few on but could not find one that fitted and so didnt buy one. the manageress said that she took out 18 coupons from the clothing coupon book which already had 13 coupons removed and said that the book was in the name of EV Staunton.
Later at 6.20pm on 22 May 1946 a Leading Porter was in the lavatory at Huyton Railway Station and his keys kept falling to the floor and whilst picking tem up he noticed a packet or bundle of papers pushed behind the lavatory pan. he said that the papers consisted of photographs, private papers and an identity card with the name Thomas Hendren on it with his address. He said that he had cleaned the lavatory on 21 May 1946 at about 12.30pm and said that to the best of his knowledge the papres were not then there. He said that he was aware that the police were desirous of interviewing Thomas Hendren.
The list of items found on Huyton Railway Station included:
All the documents bore the name and address of Thomas Hendren.
The cause of death was given as internal haemorrhage due to a stab wound to the heart and the aorta.
On 23 May 1946 at 6.05am a policeman was searching the lavatories and shelters in lbert Park, Broughton, Salford and in a gents lavatory they opend a cubicle door to find Thomas Hendren sitting on the seat. The policeman asked him what his name was and he said 'Oh, its alright, Sergeant, i'm going home. I picked a woman up in the Clowes Hotel, i've been with her all night and im going home now.' The policeman then aske dhim again what his name was and he said McLeary and when asked where he lived he said 'Lower Broughton Road', and then the policeman asked him what his proper name was and he said 'Johnson'. The policeman then cautioned him and said 'I believe your name is not Johnson, but Thomas Hendren'. Thomas Hendren then said 'Yes, Seargeant, they want me for Ella'. He was then taken to Salford Town Hall where he was detained.
see National Archives - PCOM 9/1143, DPP 2/1509