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Patrick POWER





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: To avoid being evicted
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: April 11, 1925
Date of arrest: Same day (surrenders)
Date of birth: 1884
Victim profile: Sarah Ann Sykes (his landlady)
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife - Hitting with a hammer
Location: Manchester, North West, England, United Kingdom
Status: Executed by hanging in Manchester on May 26, 1925

Patrick Power was a forty one year old unemployed Irish labourer convicted of the murder of his landlady, Mrs Sarah Ann Sykes. Power, who claimed unemployment benefit, had been lodging with the Sykes for several months.

At the beginning of April, he borrowed £5 from Mrs Sykes; on 11th April, Mr Sykes informed Power that if he did not repay the loan that day, he would be evicted.

Sykes then went off to work as usual, and later that afternoon Power walked into Pendleton police station, Salford, and confessed that he had killed his landlady.

Officers accompanied him back to the house and found her body lying under a piano. She had been attacked with a hammer and knife and had massive injuries. Power claimed he had no idea what had happened.

At his trial before Mr Justice Finlay on 8th May at Manchester Assizes, his defence claimed that Power's mind was distorted by spiritulism, and they asked for a verdict of guilty but insane. They also declared that Power was a former soldier with over twenty years service, and although he was in debt to the Sykes, his bank balance was in the black to the tune of some £40.

He was hanged by William Willis on the 26th May 1925 in Manchester.



26 May 1925 – Patrick Power

Guilty but insane – that’s what his own defence had branded Patrick Power. And to be fair nothing about this Manchester case made sense.

Paddy Power

Power was an Irish labourer who, out of work and on benefits, had been taken in as lodger by Sarah Ann Sykes. Things got nasty when he failed to pay her the fiver he owed her – so her husband threatened him with eviction before going to work, leaving the two alone. There must have one frenzied attack on Mrs Sykes, as there was overwhelming evidence of stab wounds and hammer blows effecting horrific injuries.

Money for nothing

The lodger then calmly handed himself into the police although what made him hand himself in, no-one knows because he said he couldn’t remember a thing. Needless to say the dead body spoke volumes and Power was taken into custody.

At his trial the defence claimed insanity, but no-one bought it. Power was sent down for murder, and on 26 May 1925, he paid the ultimate price for the outstanding debt. The 41-year-old was sent to the gallows and hanged by William Willis.

And all the time, he could have easily coughed up the fiver and still had £35 left in the bank. So why did he resort to murder? After all, money’s no good to you dead.



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