November 1938, Halifax was host to a series of reported attacks
on local people, by a mysterious dark figure, who became known as
the 'Halifax Slasher' (although the attacks included assault by
knife, razor and hammer). According to one report, the 'attacker'
was said to have one distinctive feature - bright buckles on his
These attacks, which took place over a period of ten days, resulted
in a widespread panic with the town all but shut for business, rewards
being offered and vigilante gangs roaming the streets and several
men, wrongly mistaken for the attacker, were beaten up as a result.
Reported attacks came from all over the district including Elland
and later parts of Lancashire also reported attacks. Even Scouts
manned telephone kiosks in the hope of stopping the criminal.
incidents were considered serious enough to warrant detectives from
Scotland Yard being called in to assist in the investigation.
- 16th November ~ The first reported
'attack', came from two girls, Mary Gledhill and Gertrude Watts,
who claimed they were 'attacked' by a man wielding a mallet, in
the Old Bank Lane, Ripponden.
- 21st November ~ The next reported
'attack', was of Mary Sutcliffe, who said she was 'attacked' in
Lister Lane. This was to be the first of the 'slasher' incidents.
Subsequent attacks followed;
- 24th November ~ in Jasper Street,
Clayton Aspinall 'attacked' outside the School of Art.
- 25th November ~ Elland Lane, Elland,
Percy Waddington was 'attacked' outside his own shop.