Pubs with a Criminal Past

With pubs being at the heart of a community they tend to reflect the activities of that area. Inner city pubs for centuries have been a magnate for like-minded young men and women to meet and sometimes that has resulted in certain pubs getting reputations for certain types of illegal activity. One of England’s most famous sportsman Sir Bobby Moore once managed the Blind Beggar Pub in Bethnal Green, although it was more famous for being where George Cornell was murdered after being shot in the head by Ronnie Kray. George Cornell belonged to the rival Richardson gang and had been heard calling Ronnie Kray a “fat poof”. On hearing that Cornell was drinking in the pub, Ronnie Kray simply walked up to him and shot him. It is now run as a family friendly pub.

George Cornell who was shot in the Blind Beggar

The Brass Handles pub in Salford, Manchester was the location of a gangland murder where ”the tables were turned”. Richard Austin and Carlton Alveranga had been hired to perform a gangland hit and on entering the bar had fired off 6 shots at their intended targets Aron Travers and David Totton. The hit men were then tackled by the pubs regulars and shot with their own weapons. They were left to die on the grass outside the pub and no one was ever convicted for their murder.

The last woman to be executed in the UK was Ruth Ellis. She had been having a long running affair with racing driver David Blakely. The relationship was often violent, and she had miscarried their baby after he had punched her in the stomach. On the night of her murder, Easter Sunday 1955, she had tracked him down to the Magadala Pub in Hampstead. As he come out of the pub she shot him 5 times, with one of the shots being so close to his body that it burnt his skin. She was later hanged in Holloway prison on 13th July 1955.

Ruth Ellis pictured with David Blakely who she later murdered

Not all of the pubs that have a bloody past have an urban location. The Ostrich Inn in Colnbrook in Berkshire can boast more than 60 murders dating back to 1106. The most notorious was when Mr Jarman was the landlord in the 13th century. He would play his guests with strong ale and then during the night he would put them in the Blue room. Within that room was a trap door and during the night he would enter, and kill them before taking their valuables. One of the UK’s biggest serial killers was Dennis Nilsen. He was responsible for killing at least 15 gay men that he would pick up either at the Coleherne Pub in Earls Court, the Golden Lion in Soho, or the Black Cap in Camden. After taking them home he would strangle them, boil them and then pour their remains down the drains.

The Coleherne being a gay pub also attracted two other serial killers. Colin Ireland lured 5 gay men to their deaths from the pub. Ireland was a sadomasochist who identified his victims by using the colour coded handkerchiefs the bar used. Certain colours would indicate an individual’s sexual preferences. Michael Lupo also took victims from the Coleherne. He murdered 4 young gay men and was apparently responsible for other killings as far afield as America, Italy and Germany.

The capital of the country sadly has many pubs that have a rather tainted history regarding murders. Maybe this is just as a result of the environment containing so many intoxicated people, making it the perfect hunting ground for those killers who want to claim a vulnerable victim.