Alfred Ernest Bruce - Sheffield Man Cuts Throat to Avoid Arrest - 

Nottingham 13th February 1925

The Flying Horseman, Nottingham where the tragedy occurred - photo taken early 1960's

The first report is from The Manchester Guardian dated 14th February 1925 

A more detailed account appears in the Sheffield Daily Telegraph dated 13th February 1925

A report also appeared in the Yorkshire Post dated Saturday 14th February 1925

However the inquest told a rather different story regarding the arrest. The Yorkshire Post dated 16th February 1925 carried this report which states that Alfred did not cut his throat immediately on seeing the detectives but whilst he was in the process of getting dressed so that he could accompany them to the station. 

A couple of factors are worthy of note. The first is the time of the police arrest - 4.00am and secondly the time and the trouble the police in London, Sheffield and Nottingham went to in order to apprehend Alfred Bruce. His alleged offence was fraudulent conversion ("Fraudulent conversion means the action of taking into possession another man’s money or property and converting or using them fraudulently for one’s own use and benefit or for the use and benefit of a third party to whom the property or money does not belong") which today is called theft. Their pursuit of Alfred Bruce does seem to be dogged and relentless which is unusual given the nature of the alleged offence.

Similarly Alfred Bruce's response to the threat of his imminent arrest was horrifying. He clearly was expecting some form of visit but to nearly decapitate yourself is the actions of a desperate and cornered man. There is something missing in the reports to be sure.

A separate point is that information on Alfred is sparse. The age given in both reports is incorrect. The age given on the death certificate is 52

Deaths Mar 1925 BRUCE Alfred E 52 Nottingham Vol 7b Page 328

Apart from the fact that his occupation is a traveler and he lives at 57 Pickmere Road Crookes, Sheffield there is nothing about his background in the reports. However research in the UK censuses found the following information on Alfred

1911 Census

Name: Alfred Ernest Bruce
Age in 1911: 38 Estimated birth year: abt 1873
Relation to Head: Boarder Gender: Male
Birth Place: Staffordshire, Stafford, England
Civil Parish: South Manchester County/Island: Lancashire Country: England
Street address: 2 Furness Villas Furness Rd Rusholm 
Marital Status: Widowed
Occupation: Commercial Traveller
Registration district: Chorlton Registration District Number: 464 Sub-registration district: Didsbury ED, institution, or vessel: 41 Piece: 23698
Household Members: Name Age Ellen Robertson 54 Hannah L D Robertson 19 Alfred Ernest Bruce 38 John Henry Bruce 6 Christs J Tchasussoglou 20

In the section next to occupation (commercial traveler) the householder has written "canned goods, dried fruits etc"

1901 Census

Name: Alfred Ernest Bruce
Age: 25 Estimated birth year: abt 1876
Relation to Head: Son Gender: Male
Mother: Eliza Bruce (maiden name Nickson)
Birth Place: Stafford, Staffordshire, England
Civil Parish: Withington Ecclesiastical parish: Withington St Paul County/Island: Lancashire Country: England
Registration district: Chorlton Sub-registration district: Didsbury ED, institution, or vessel: 14 Piece: 3670 Folio: 156 Page Number: 23 Household schedule number: 127
Household Members: Name Age Eliza Bruce 54 Alfred Ernest Bruce 25 Alice Eliza Bruce 20 Mary Harn 45 George Leonard Bruce 25

1881 Census

Name: Alfred Ernest Bruce Age: 8
Estimated birth year: abt 1873
Relationship to Head: Son
Father: Henry Bruce
Mother: Eliza Bruce
Gender: Male
Where born: Staffordshire, England
Civil Parish: Stafford St Mary County/Island: Staffordshire Country: England Street address: 32 Gaolgate Street
Occupation: Scholar
Registration district: Stafford Sub registration district: Stafford ED, institution, or vessel: 24 Piece: 2688 Folio: 92 Page Number: 1
Household Members: Name Age Henry Bruce 61 Eliza Bruce 34 William Henry Bruce 9 Alfred Ernest Bruce 8 George Leonard Bruce 5 Alice Eliza Bruce 
Jane Ellen Whiting 22 Eliza Deakin 26 Emily Deakin 16

Birth 1872 6 Apr 32 Gaol Gate St., Stafford, England Baptism 1872 6 May Christ Church, Stafford, Staffordshire, England 

His brothers and sisters Agnes Bruce 1867 – 1953, William Bruce 1871 – 1871, Charles Henry Bruce - 1875 – 1943, George Leonard Bruce - 1876 – ,Arthur Bruce 1878 – 
Alice Eliza Bruce 1880 – ,Frederick Bruce 1881 – 

In the 1901 census his marital status is single but in the 1911 Census he is described as a widower. I believe that this is the record of his marriage

Surname First name(s) District Vol Page 
Marriages Sep 1902 Bruce Alfred Ernest Salford 8d 53 Jackson Sarah Salford 8d 53 
A Sarah Bruce died in 1909 in Manchester at the age of 32


UK Census

The Manchester Guardian dated 14th February 1925

Sheffield Daily Telegraph dated 13th February 1925

Yorkshire Post dated Saturday 14th February 1925

Yorkshire Post dated 16th February 1925

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This page was last updated on 22/03/15 11:02