Memories of a Local Murder


Mrs. O. N. Barnes, aged 83, of Ferryhill, Co. Durham, recollects a memory from her childhood, in an interview at Ferryhill Library on Thursday 5th October 2006.


Mrs. Barnes wrote the information down for me, which I collected from the Library, the following Monday. She has provided me with the permission to state what the information relates. She states:


"When we [were] children, over 80 years ago, we lived [at] the cottage in the back lane, it was behind the 'Red Lion' pub.  [This is now the sight of the Supermarket].  Them days, over the road was the old Black Store in the Garth, [and] at the opposite side was the Thresher.  My Grandmother lived up Dean Bank, she had a lodger that had [owned] the shop in the village which my Grandmother looked after it.  This day she had my sister, [who is] 2 years older than me ([she was at the time of the murder] 5 or 6). She is 85 now.  Well, my Grandmother took my sister with her to the bank for change for the shop.  She opened the [bank] door, then pushed my sister back.  The murder of the bank manager had not long happened. He was on the floor, blood all over.  My Gran pushed my sister by, then closed the door, and went to the 'Red Lion' pub, them days [was] across the road and got them to ring for the police.  It wasn't long after a matter of 2 or 3 weeks when we moved to the council house.  Well, this man who my mother knew told her 'I bet I know who did it'.  He told her that they lived up [at] Dean Bank and he worked at Mainsforth Colliery, and for 4 days when he got over the bridge to cross over to the back lane to go down to Mainsforth Pit, he saw this strange man standing on the corner opposite the bank.  My mother said to him you should tell the police.  He didn't want to with having children.  Well, my mother said he could do it again.  I would let the police know.  Well, it turned out when he [the man who my mother knew] came out of [the] pit one day, the police was waiting for him and he had to go to a place and pick him [Norman Elliott, the murderer] out of a line of men.  

        He got the right man, also they thought he was the one who murdered the cobbler at Spennymoor.  The knife was found in the horse trough at the bottom of Durham Bank [Durham Road].

        I hope you understand.  O. N. Barnes"


Author's Notes:

Mrs. Barnes did not allow the identity of "the man who my mother knew" to be revealed as she knows the family of the man, who still live in Ferryhill, who had to go to a police identification parade to pick out the murderer.  I did not want to press Mrs. Barnes with revealing this man's identity.  I would like to thank Mrs. Barnes for releasing this information to me.

The above text in blue have been added to Mrs. Barnes' comments to make it easier for the reader to understand her comments better.  Otherwise, Mrs. Barnes' comments remain the same without any alterations, amendments or deletions.