James Caird – Full Statement

The statements of James Caird, courtesy of John Gannon.

Statement #1:

(Appears heavily water damaged on the first page).

City Cafe.

James CAIRD says:-

I am a grocer and I reside at 3, Litchworth (sic) Street. I am a member of the City Cafe Chess Club. Mr.Wallace of 29, Wolverton Street was also a member of the club and I have known him for about 12 or 14 years. On Monday the 19th of January, 1931 I went to the City Cafe and arrived there at about [destroyed]. Mr. Wallace was not there then but he came in at about [destroyed]. I saw him come in and I asked him to play me at [destroyed]. He declined because he wanted to play (a) tournament game off. He arranged to play a match with Mr.McCartney and they commenced the game. I walked round watching other (games and?) eventually reached the table Capt.Beattie was playing [destroyed] (he?) asked me if I knew Wallace’s address because he had (received?) a telephone message for him. I told him Mr.Wallace was present.

Capt.Beattie and I went to Wallace’s table and Capt.Beattie told him he had received a message from a (Mr?) Qualtrough. Mr.Wallace said he did not know anyone of that name. I did not hear all the conversation but I did [destroyed] discussing where Menlove Gardens and Menlove Avenue (were and the?) best way to get to them.

At about 10.15p.m. I [destroyed] Wallace and others and Wallace and I boarded a West [destroyed] tram car and got off at Belmont Road. I did not sit [destroyed] the car. I walked with him to my house, he [destroyed] his way home, and during our walk we discussed (the best way to get?) to Menlove Gardens. I suggested a Queens (Road bus, but?) he said he thought he would get a tram to town [destroyed] town as he knew that way.

I did not see Wallace again until about 10.20p.m. on [destroyed] the 22nd January 1931 when I saw him at the corner of [destroyed] and Lord Street. A number of us, including [destroyed] and left the Chess Club. I heard Capt.Beattie (tell Mr. Wallace?) not to say anything as it might be mis-construed (. I do not recollect?) [destroyed] what Wallace had said to cause Capt.Beattie to say that. I asked Wallace when the funeral was and he said he thought it would be on Saturday but he did not want any fuss. A tram came along then and Wallace boarded it.

I have visited Wallace’s house perhaps two or three times a year and I always found them quite devoted to each other. I have been to their house when Mr.Wallace has been out. On Tuesday the 20th inst. I was in my shop 113, Stanley Road until about 7.15p.m. I then took a tram from Gt.Mersey Street to Castlewood Road and then walked home, arriving there about 7.45p.m. I left home at about 8.15p.m. with my wife and went to 21, Portelet Road and remained there till about 9.30p.m. when I went home. My brother L. G. Caird lives at 21, Portelet Road. I did not see Mr.Wallace that night nor did I see any suspicious persons about the Wolverton Street district.

(Signed) James Caird.

James CAIRD further states:-

Mr.Wallace usually attended the club once a week, either on Mondays or Thursdays but usually Mondays.

(Signed) James Caird.

Statement #2:


James Caird of 3. Letchworth Street Anfield Liverpool Grocery will say:-

I have known Mr Wallace for fifteen years, & Mrs Wallace for ten or eleven years. They lived at 29 Wolverton Street during the whole time I knew them. I met Mr Wallace fairly frequently in Richmond Park & other streets near his house, & occasionally I used to go to his house visit him. During the time I knew him, I can hardly tell how often I visited him; sometimes I would go to the house two or three times a month, & then it might be seven or eight months before I saw went there again. My wife never visited the house, but she knew Mrs Wallace very well. They used to meet while in the roads in the district or when shopping. So far as I know Mrs Wallace never came to our house & Mr Wallace had not visited us for some years.

When I went to Mr Wallaces I frequently used to play Chess with him. I think the last time was in October 1930. He had been in the Southern Hospital, having an operation, & I visited ^him about three or four times __ after he came out. He was then up & about, & quite cheerful, & Mrs Wallace was looking after him, as she always did. I should say that he was her sole thought. They were a very happy couple & I never saw anything approaching a quarrel between them. Mr Wallace was a man of varied interests; at one time he was a Master at the Byron Street Technical School (Evening classes) & he arranged his back bedroom as a laboratory, where he had a considerable store of chemicals of all kinds. Later he took up work with the Microscope, & began to try to make his own instrument(?), but he found that this was taking too long, & therefore bought one, which cost £70 or £80, I believe. He used to work up in the back bedroom, & it is still fitted up as a laboratory.

About two years ago he took up the Violin, & had lessons in it, so as to accompany his wife, who was a good pianist. Sometimes, they used to play to me when I went round to his house. I remember that in July or August of last year I was there, & Mr Wallace was very __ to accompany her on the violin, but she said “No, Herbert, you’re not strong; you’ll only upset yourself if you play”. He persisted, & they ^played over one or Two pieces


She told him several times to sit down, as he had only just come out of hospital. Mrs Wallace was always very careful in the way she looked after her husband’s health. Both he & I were members of the Central Chess Club, (Club nights Monday & Thursday) but Wallace only came down on Mondays, unless there was a special match on. His reason for this was that he did not want to leave Mrs Wallace alone in the house. I would not say that he would be nervous of doing so; I think it was mainly because he wanted to keep her company. He was rather a highly-strung man, & was also in poor health.

My son Kenneth (14) is at Shaw Street School.

On Monday 19th January last I arrived at the City Café, North John Street, Liverpool at about twenty five to eight. I had a look round to see if there was anybody to play, but as there (was) nobody with whom I was paired I strolled round & had a look at the games. While doing so, I saw Mr Wallace, who had just come in, with his hat & coat on. It was then about a quarter to eight. I should think that I had been in the club about ten minutes when he came in. I asked him to have a game; we could not have a tournament game as he is a class below me; i.e. in Class III II. He said that he had come down with the object of getting a tournament game wiped off, as he was in arrears. He asked if Mr Chandler was there, but he was not in the café, so he played Mr McCartney, who was in his class. I watched the opening moves & then began to wander round, & went to Mr Beatties’ table, & stood three or four minutes before he saw me. Then he looked up & said “Hello, Mr Caird; you kow Mr Wallace address; don’t you?” I replied that I did & told him at the same time that Wallace was sitting there, playing McCartney.

Mr Beattie looked round, & then went over to Wallace’s table, & I went with him. I don’t remember exactly how Mr Beattie began, but I recall that he said Mr Qualtrough had phoned-through a message to him. Mr. Wallace, who was deep in thought over his game, looked up & said “Qualtrough; I don’t know anybody named Qualtrough.” Mr Beattie said “If you don’t, I don’t”. Mr Wallace seemed surprised that someone should have rang him up at the club. I did not hear him ask if Qualtrough was a member of the Club. Mr Beattie gave


an address which I remember to have been Menlove Gardens East, but I don’t remember the number. Wallace treated the whole matter very lightly, but & said he didn’t know Qualtrough, & didn’t know Menlove Gardens, but he __ had a Scotch tongue in his head & could inquire. There was some talk about it, & Mr Deyes, who lives in the neighbourhood, was asked by Mr Beattie, but he didn’t know where Menlove Gardens East was. Mr Wallace continued playing his game, which lasted till about 10.15, & he won it.

Mr Bethurn & I went home with Wallace on the West Derby Road car, & Mr Bethurn sat next to (him?). We got Wallace & I got off at Belmont Road, & Bethurn went on, & Wallace & I walked towards our homes. Wallace was very pleased to have won his game, & this ^was the main topic of our conversation, but he __ mentioned Qualtrough. He said “(What?) a funny name, Qualtrough; have you ever heard of it?” I said “I only remember one man of that name.” I suggested he should take the Queen’s Drive bus, but he said he would go into town & then out again. My last words on leaving him were to ask him how his (kidney) complaint as going on, & if he was still taking some (German?) medicine he had. He said he wasn’t taking the medicine now, & if his complaint didn’t trouble him, he wouldn’t trouble it. He saw me to ^my __ door.

At 11.30 pm on Tuesday 20 February January, I was just going to bed when someone called for me, & on going to the door I heard that the whole neighbourhood was up, & Mrs Wallace had been murdered. I at once went round to 29, Wolverton St. The house was full of police & detectives & __ were standing outside. Mrs Wallace had been taken away, & Mr Wallace had been taken to the Police Station.

About 10.15 p.m on Thursday 22nd January, I met Mr Wallace by chance at the Lord Street end of North John St. He had been with the Police all day. He seemed very much changed(?), & terribly upset, & shaken(?). I was with Mr B__ & Mr Beattie, & we had been at the Chess Club. I said “Good evening, Mr Wallace”, & called Beatties’ attention to him. Mr. Beattie instantly said, “Now Mr Wallace, don’t say anything


(about?) this trouble, as anything you may say may be misconstrued.” Mr Wallace’s lips were quivering, & he could hardly speak in reply. The car came up, & we all separated. Mr Wallace was going in the Ullet Road direction. Before he left, I asked him when the funeral was going to be. He said he thought it would be on Saturday. He was dressed in mourning, & to me he looked ghastly.

James Caird

Statement #3:

Evidence taken 19th. February 1931.


I am a Grocer and live at 3 Letchworth Street, Liverpool.

I am a member of the City Cafe Chess Club, which meets at 24.B. North John Street.

My house is a couple of minutes walk from the accused’s house. I have known the accused for 14 years.

I went to the City Cafe on the 19th.January last. The accused arrived after me at about 7-45 p.m. I invited him to a game but he declined in order to play a match game with a member named McCartney. I spoke to witness Beattie and we both went to where the accused was playing. Witness Beattie told accused that he had a message for him over the telephone from a man named Qualtrough. The accused said “Qualtrough? I don’t know anyone (of) that name”. Witness Beattie said “If you don’t I don’t”. Witness Beattie said something about Menlove Gardens East. He went over to a Mr. Deyes and came back and said to accused “Mr. Deyes does not know where it is”. I heard the accsued say “It’s all right Mr. Beattie I’ve got a tongue in my head. I can enquire”.

When I left the Club I went home with the accused and a Mr. Beetton. The accused and I got off the car at Belmont Road. We walked towards home and the accused came as far as my door. On the way we were having a conversation. He seemed rather delighted at having won his game. He then referred to the name Qualtrough and said “it is a funny name, I’ve never heard of it, have you?” I suggested that he should take the Queens Drive bus to Menlove Avenue or Menlove Gardens. He said he would not go that way, but he would take the car to town and out again if he went at all but he was not sure about going at all.

BY Mr. SCHOLEFIELD ALLEN, Counsel for accused :-

I have been a member of the Chess Club for 7 or 8 years. The accused is well liked among the members. The accused joined at the same time as me. Anyone familiar with the habits of the accused or myself would know that we were likely to be in the Chess Club on a Monday evening. I cannot say that the accused denied having any knowledge of Menlove Avenue. He did not enter into a discussion as to where Menlove Avenue was. I visited accused’s house occasionally. I know Mrs. Wallace. I played chess with him at home. He and his wife seemed a very happy couple. The accused was not a strong man. He was a delicate man I should say. Her one thought was of the accused absolutely. She played the piano and the accused played the violin. They sometimes played for my benefit. I visited them last August after the accused had come out of Hospital. mrs. Wallace was extremely careful of him that evening. The accused very rarely attended the Club twice a week. He usually attended on Monday. He told me he did not like to leave his wife at home alone on two nights a week. From what I saw their’s was always a happy married life. I saw nothing to the contrary at any time.

I was with witness Beattie when he met the accused at the corner of Lord St. ont he 22nd. January. Substantially I agree with what took place. My imrpession was that he was a man under a great strain, very much upset and shaken. He was dressed in mourning. He looked ghastly.


I heard him say on the Thursday that he had just left the Police. Perhaps I did not hear all the conversation. My imrpession was that when witness Beattie spoke to the accused in the Cafe that the accused knew where Menlove Avenue was but not Menlove Gardens East.



320. Is your name James Caird? Yes.

321. You are a grocer and live at 3, Letchworth Street, Liverpool? Yes.

322. Are you a member of this Chess Club at the City Cafe? Yes.

323. Do you know the accused well? Yes.

324. You live actually within a few minutes of his house? Yes.

325. MR JUSTICE WRIGHT: How long have you known him? About 14 or 15 years.

326. MR WALSH: Do you remember going to this Chess Club on the 19th of January? Yes.

327. What time would you arrive there about? At about 25 minutes to 8.

328. What time did the accused arrive? I should think about a quarter to 8.

329. I understand that you asked him to play a game but he refused? Yes, that is so.

330. And he played a game with Mr McCartney? That is so.

331. A little later, did you go with Mr Beattie to speak to the accused? Yes, I did accompany Mr Beattie.

332. Did you hear Mr Beattie say anything to him? Yes, he said he had a message for him.

333. From whom? From somebody of the name of Qualtrough.

334. Did he say where he had got the message? Over the telephone.

335. Can you remember what the accused said in answer to it? Well, he was a second or two before he took any notice and then he looked up and said: “Qualtrough! I do not know anybody of that name”.

336. Did Mr Beattie say anything then? Mr Beattie said: “Well, if you do not I do not”.

337. MR JUSTICE WRIGHT: When he said: “I do not know anyone of that name”, what was said then? Mr Wallace said he did not know anybody of that name and Mr Beattie said: “Well, if you do not I do not”.

338. MR WALSH: Was there some discussion then as to where this address was? Yes.

339. Did you hear Mr Beattie say anything to the accused as to there it was? It was at Menlove Gardens, East.

340. Did you hear him say where Menlove Gardens, East, was or Menlove Avenue? He was trying to explain; he did not know where Menlove Gardens, East, was, but we knew it was in the Menlove Avenue district.

341. Did you hear the accused say anything to Mr Beattie after that discussion and if so what did he say? He said he had a tongue in his head and he could ask when he got in the vicinity in the district.

342. That night you went home with the accused and a Mr Bethurn? Yes.

343. And you and the accused got off the car at Belmont Road? Yes.

344. And you walked towards home? That is right.

345. Did Mr Wallace say anything to you while going home? He talked about winning the game that he had played with Mr McCartney and seemed very pleased at having done so.

346. Did he say anything about this message that he had received? Not until we got very close home.

347. Then what did he say? He said: “Qualtrough? Have you heard of that name before?” I said: “I have only heard of one person of the name of Qualtrough”.

348. Anything else? Then we discussed about going out to Menlove Gardens East and I proposed that he should go on the bus from Queen’s Drive, but he said he would take the most direct course and go into town and from there out to Menlove Avenue.

349. Did he say anything else? No, nothing else. I do not think there was anything else discussed that night.

350. Did he say whether he was going to go? No, he was not sure about going. He said if he did to that was the way he would go, but he was not sure about going at all.

351. You saw the accused again a little later on the 22nd with Mr Beattie at the corner of Lord Street and North John Street? Yes.

352. Can you say what Mr Wallace said to Mr Beattie or what Mr Beattie said to Mr Wallace?

MR HEMMERDE: We need not have that that is not really disputed.
MR ROLAND OLIVER: No. It has not been cross-examined about. I say at once, my Lord, having read the deposition many things are repeated which I shall not cross-examine to.
MR JUSTICE WRIGHT: You can watch for them as it goes along.
MR ROLAND OLIVER: If you Lordship pleases.


353. Do you know what time Mr Wallace finished his game that night or about what time? Well, it would be about a quarter to 10 because I do not think he played another game afterwards. The Cafe keeps open to 10 or a quarter past and it was near the end.

354. I am instructed it was nearly half past. It may have been but I could not say about that.

355. Did you notice anything wrong about his manager that evening? Nothing whatever; he was just his usual self.

356. You have known him for 15 years? Yes.

357. What sort of a man is he as known to you? Wall, a man who is intellectual and varied in his habits of study and that sort of thing.

358. With regard to his behaviour, is he a violent person or what? Oh no, not at all, a placid man.

359. Have you ever seen any signs of violent temper about him or anything like that? Nothing whatever.

360. Would it be right to describe him as a studious man? Yes.

361. You knew his wife, did you not? Yes.

362. And family? Yes.

363. Are his habits known to you scientifically? Yes.

364. He has some kind of laboratory fixed up in his house? Yes, in the back room he had a chemical laboratory.

365. Do you know that at one time or other he was giving lectures? Yes, in the technical school in Byrom Street.

366. And playing violin – music? Yes, he was only a beginner at that.

367. And chess? Yes.

368. How long had you known his wife? Well, not quite that long.

369. But a good may years? Yes, years, as to how long I could not exactly say.

370. Have you seen them often together? Yes. I have met them many a time. I used to meet them in the Park and in the street.

371. Would it be right to say so far as you know they were generally together when he was not a work? Oh, yes.

372. So far as their relations were concerned, they were happy? Yes.

373. So far, as you could observe? So far as I could see.

374. You have never seen anything to the contrary? Nothing whatever.

375. Let us come to the time when you saw a good deal of them. Last year he had to go to hospital, did he not, for a kidney operation? Yes.

376. Was he there for some time? Yes.

377. Was he an invalid for some time after he came out of hospital? Yes.

378. During that period of convalescence used you to go round and see them? Yes, I did, on two or three occasions; I do not know how often.

379. To play chess with him? I have played chess with him but I do not think I did on this occasion.

380. At any rate, you visited him and that was a recent as last year? Yes.

381. Were their relations still just the same? Yes, quite good.

382. Would it be fair to suggest that from your observation they were a devoted couple? Yes.

383. Would that be putting it too high? Use your own phrase? Well, I should say they were a happy couple, a very happy couple.

384. Did she appear to take an interest in his health? Oh, yes.


385. Can you tell us as to which of them seemed more interested in the other? I should think it was about even.

386. You think it was? Yes


  • Known Wallace for 12 to 14 years.
  • Lives at the neighbouring Letchworth Street, just across from Wolverton Street.
  • Went with Beattie to Wallace’s table as the message was delivered.
  • Discussed the best route to Menlove Gardens with Wallace during their walk home after the tram.
  • Suggested a Queen’s Drive bus, but Wallace said he would get a tram to town and out from there as he knew that way.
  • NO claim by Wallace of not knowing how to get to Menlove Avenue.
  • Was reportedly home (one street over from Wolverton Street) at 19:45 for 30 minutes during the murder window, before leaving at 20:15. Timing improbable as a suspect.
  • 30 minute journey home on trams for a ~2 mile distance (19:15 to 19:45). Wait times and walking times not accounted for. But note all times are given as round figures to the nearest quarter hour.
  • No suspicious persons seen around the district of the house: So no peculiar sighting around the region of 19:45 or 20:15. No sighting of Wallace around these times or at any time during the day.
  • Wallace attended the club once a week, either on Thursday (when Parry had seen him there) or Monday, but usually only Monday unless there was a special match on.
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