John Bainbridge

AKAThe ten Minute Alibi
Kill Total1
Kill PlaceDurham
Kill Date31 Dec 1935
VictimEdward Herdman-75
December 1934. 24-year-old Private Bainbridge was on leave from the Durham Light Infantry. He travelled home for Christmas to Bishop Aukland where his family lived and where he had previously worked as a clerk to local solicitors at 47 Salisbury Place. The chief clerk there was 75-year-old Edward Frederick Herdman.

31st December 1934, John Stephenson Bainbridge murdered Edward Frederick Herdman by battering him and then cutting his throat at the solicitors office at,  47 Salisbury Place, Bishop Auckland.

John Bainbridge was friends with the daughter of Edward Herdman. She stated that she and John Bainbridge left her father in the house at 7.55pm stating that the clock was 10-minutes fast. Edward Herdman was supposedly  murdered between 7.50pm and 9.50pm. Later at the trial the judge noted that if that were true and the clock were not fast then John Bainbridge was innocent. The case was known as the Ten Minute Alibi.

Herdman was found dead at his home about 10pm on that New Years Eve with his head battered and his throat cut. Close by was a broken brass poker covered in blood and on his lapel an open penknife. It was Edward Herdman's penknife that he had used for years. The walls, ceiling and furniture was splattered with his blood. The back of his hands were beaten to a pulp indicating that he had used them to protect his head as he was being beaten. On the table, partly underneath his body was a wallet containing £40 which had not been taken.

Some days after the murder a fellow soldier, Private McNally, received a letter, postmarked Gateshead, containing £36 in one pound notes, three of which were bloodstained. The handwriting matched that of Bainbridge.

4th March 1935 Trial starts at Durham Assizes.

8th March 1935, John Bainbridge alleged that he met his girlfriend later that evening at the hotel where she worked at 10pm after which they went to a party where they stayed until the early hours.
The girlfriend said that she did not see any blood on his clothes on that night.

The pathologist said he found blood on the outer cuff of John Bainbridge's shirt as well as on the left sleeve and the front. The pathologist confirmed it was human blood and could not have come from John Bainbridge's pimple on his face. On his overcoat they found human blood on the left sleeve just below the elbow, some on the outside of the right cuff and also some on the inside of the right cuff. there was also blood on his jacket.

The prosecution stated that John Bainbridge had killed Edward Herdman to get money to buy an engagement ring, however, Bainbridge denied that there was any need for money in his life. John Bainbridge had used a £5 note to buy some jewellery on New Years Eve after the murder, money which the prosecution said he had stolen but which John Bainbridge said he had borrowed from a woman whose name he could not give.

The newspapers reported that John Bainbridge said that he had borrowed £5 from a woman but didn't give her name because she was married and that the mysterious woman had sent letters to the John Bainbridge's solisitors supporting his innocence. Also that after the murder John Bainbridge was at a party playing a game called Murder where he played the part of the murderer. The judge also noted that it was remarkable that John Bainbridge didn't call his mother to give evidence in his favour suggesting that perhaps she could not back up his claims.

9th May 1935, 24-year-old John Bainbridge was Executed by Albert Pierrpoint at Durham prison.
He maintained his innocence till the end.

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