January 11, 1920
Simmondley Moor, Glossop, Derbyshire, England
Albert Burrows kills his wife Hannah Calladine and their infant son before throwing their bodies down a mine shaft; Burrows kills his step-daughter the next day
Burrows, described in the Nashville Tennessean rather unflatteringly (as was the custom in newspapers covering a murder trial during that age) as “a knotty, limpy man, bald, swart and with a paucity of words,” had recently married Hannah Calladine. The marriage was not legally binding, however, as Burrows was still married to his first wife.
On January 11, Burrows took Hannah and their infant son Albert Calladine into Simmondley Moor. At least one witness saw the family walking on the moors, and saw Burrows return alone. The following day, a similar event was witnessed with Hannah’s daughter, 4-year-old Elsie Calladine.
Neighbors asked Burrows about Hannah’s sudden disappearance, and were met with the reply: “She’s gone to be a housekeeper for a widower and took the children.” Soon, Burrows returned for his first wife, and no suspicion was raised.
Two years later on March 4, 1923, 4-year-old Thomas Wood went missing. The Woods lived on the same street as Burrows and Thomas was often seen in his company, and so Burrows was among the first to be questioned regarding his disappearance. As the days drew on, a witness came forward stating they had seen Burrows taking Thomas on the moors, but had returned alone. Burrows was questioned further, but adamantly denied knowledge of the boy’s whereabouts.
Wood’s body was retrieved on March 13, his final moments determined to have contained a violent sexual assault before he was drowned and thrown down a 100-foot mine shaft. While investigating Wood’s murder, investigators came across the skeletal remains of a woman and two children, later identified as Hannah, Elsie, and Albert Calladine.
Burrow’s trial was a landmark event in that his defense counsel, Miss Monica Cobb, was the first woman to represent a defendant during a murder case in England. The circumstantial evidence and eye witness testimony against Burrow was immense and the jury was swift to convict him and sentence him to death. Burrow professed his innocence to his grave, and was hanged on August 8, 1923.
“The Simmondley Pit Affair, 1923.” Glossop Heritage Trust. Accessed: January 11, 2020. http://www.glossopheritage.co.uk/simmpit.htm (image source)
Whitfield, David. “The last ten criminals to be hanged in Nottingham.” December 8, 2019. Updated: January 5, 2020. Accessed: January 11, 2020. https://www.nottinghampost.com/news/history/last-ten-criminals-hanged-nottingham-3592834.amp
Nash, Jay Robert. Crime Chronology: A Worldwide Record, 1900-1983. 1984
“Pit-Slayer Woman Defended Guilty.” The Nashville Tennessean. September 15, 1923
“Pit Murder Charges.” The Guardian [London, England]. June 21, 1923