As so often happens in the case of a murder it is
events that are completely outside of the control of the murderer that
can often lead to his downfall. It was May 1947 and Mrs Doughty decided
to pay a visit to two of her friends, Percy and Alice Baker. They lived
in a house in a remote part of the Pennines.
When she arrived she was surprised to find the
furniture from the house being loaded into a removal van. When she
questioned the driver he told her that the Bakers had parted after a
quarrel and decided to sell up.
Mrs Doughty didn't believe this and so got in touch
with the removal firm. She was told that a young man had called and told
them that he was separating from his wife and he was rejoining the Air
force. He had a houseful of furniture to dispose of. The dealer offered
him £300 and he accepted. He signed a receipt in the name of P Baker.
When Mrs Doughty inspected it she believed it to be a forgery and
informed the police.
The dealer was able to inform the police that as well
as buying the furniture he had also been asked to deliver a number of
suitcases to a shop at Saddleworth. When police checked they found the
shop to be rented by 24-year-old John Gartside. When he was arrested he
was actually driving Mr Baker's car. When questioned he said that he had
bought both the furniture for £250 and given a further £200 for the car.
The suitcases were found to contain large quantities of clothing,
household linen and personal items which were identified as the property
of Mr and Mrs Baker.
The police conducted a thorough search of the house
and found bloodstains in the dining room and a mark of a bullet on the
floor. The police were not happy with his answers and persevered with
Eventually Gartside broke down and took the police to
a spot on the moors about three quarters of a mile from the house where
they recovered the bodies of both Mr and Mrs Baker. When the bodies were
examined it was discovered that both had been shot, Mr Baker had been
shot twice in the head and his wife once. Both bodies were naked when
He was tried at Leeds Assizes in July 1947 where he
made a feeble attempt to show that the shooting had not been intentional.
Gartside told the court that he had arrived at the house while the
Bakers were arguing. He intimated that he was a regular caller at the
house as Mr Baker was a friend of his. On this occasion he had taken two
guns with him which they were going to try out later. Again he suggested
that Mr Baker might have wanted to buy the guns.
He maintained that Mrs Baker had attacked Mr Baker
with a poker. Mr Baker, in trying to defend himself had grabbed one of
the two loaded guns and shot Mrs Baker with it. Gartside said he had
then grappled with Mr Baker trying to get the gun away from him and it
had gone off accidentally and shot Him.
Apparently Mr Baker was writhing in agony on the
floor and Gartside had picked up the gun and shot him twice to put him
out of his misery. This was at odds with the forensic evidence. Gartside
then said he panicked and decided he would have to get rid of the bodies.
His story was soon pulled apart by the prosecution
and he was found guilty. He was subsequently hanged at Armley Gaol in
Leeds on the 22 August 1947.
John Edward Gartside
In May 1947 Mrs Doughty paid a visit to her friends, Percy and Alice
Baker. They lived in a remote part of the Pennines and when she arrived
she found the furniture from the house being loaded into a removal van.
The driver told her that the Bakers had parted after a quarrel and
decided to sell up. Mrs Doughty did not believe this and got in touch
with the removal firm. They had a receipt signed by Mr Baker. When she
inspected it she saw it was a forgery and informed the police.
There were eight suitcases that the
firm had been instructed to deliver to a shop at Saddleworth. 24-year-old
John Gartside rented the shop and he was arrested driving Mr Baker's
car. Initially he said that he had bought the furniture and the car from
the Bakers for £450 but eventually took the police on to the moors where
they recovered the bodies of the Bakers. They had both been shot.
At his trial at Leeds Assizes in
July 1947 Gartside claimed that he had arrived during a quarrel. Mrs
Baker had gone for Mr Baker with a poker. Mr Baker had grabbed one of
the two loaded pistols that Gartside just happened to be holding and
shot Mrs Baker with it. Gartside had then grappled with Mr Baker to
recover the pistol but it had gone off accidentally and shot Baker in
the head. This was at odds with the forensic evidence and he was found
guilty. Gartside was subsequently hanged at Armley Jail on 22nd August.