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Horace William MANTON






A.K.A.: "Bertie"
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Parricide - Argument
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: November 18, 1943
Date of arrest: 3 months later
Date of birth: ???
Victim profile: Caroline Manton, his pregnant wife
Method of murder: Hitting with a heavy wooden stool
Location: Luton, Bedfordshire, England, United Kingdom
Status: Sentenced to death in 1944. Commuted to life in prison. Died in prison in 1947

Horace William Manton was arrested for the murder of his wife. He stated that he had struck her with a heavy wooden stool during an argument. Because of the extensive injuries to the face this could not have been disproved but at the trial he then went on to say he caught hold of his wife by the throat which sealed his fate as a murderer.


Manton, Horace William

Luton Sack Murder

When some workman saw a sack floating in the River Lea near the Vauxhall factory at Luton they were interested to know what it contained. When they fished the sack out of the water on 19 November 1943 they were shocked and horrified to see it contained the body of a middle aged woman. She was naked and had been strangled and then, it would appear, beaten so severely as to try and hide her identity. Photographs of the woman were shown at local cinemas.

Three months later in February 1944 Police were scouring household waste on a local tip in when they found a piece of a woman's coat that had a dry-cleaning mark. The mark was traced to Mrs Caroline Manton who, when they checked they found had handed the coat in for dyeing in the previous November.

When they spoke to Mrs Manton's husband who was a Fire Brigade driver known as 'Bertie', he denied that the photos were of his wife and told police that his wife had left him to live with her brother. To back this up he showed them letters that he said had been written by his wife since the previous December. Officers noticed that in all the letters a simple spelling mistake was evident. It was in the word 'Hampstead' which in all cases had been written as 'Hamstead'. The police asked him for a sample of his handwriting and they noticed that he too mispelt this word.

When the police searched the house they found it had been so thoroughly cleaned that an examination only managed to locate a single fingerprint belonging to its former occupant. This was found on a pickle jar in a cupboard. As the woman had lived in the house for many years they would have expected the house to be covered in her prints so it showed he had tried to remove all sign, but why if she had simply left him.

Satisfied that they had got the right man they arrested and charged him with the murder of his wife. Realising that there was no way out he confessed to killing his wife. He said that they had quarrelled and that he had hit her with a stool. He had wheeled her body to the river on his bicycle and dumped it into the water. He appeared for trial at Bedford Assizes and was found guilty and sentenced to death. The sentence was commuted to life imprisonment and he died in prison three years later in 1947. 



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