Liverpool Bank Raid, 1926

Liverpool, October 14th 1926

Liverpool Bank Raid

Prisoner unperturbed

Wounded man in critical state

Of the four victims of the shooting which followed the raid on the District Bank, Great Homer St, yesterday John STEVENSON, Corporation labourer, shot in the head remains in a critical condition, the three other wounded men are more comfortable, but their condition is still serious.

William McALLISTER, who is alleged to be the man who shot the cashier of the bank while he was counting silver, and who fired five other shots at his pursuers during his 600yds run for liberty was brought before the Liverpool Stipendiary Magistrate today. When his name was called he ran up the bridewell steps two at a time and faced the court with utmost coolness. A neatly built youth of about 20, with black hair and bushy eyebrows, he stood smartly to attention throughout the proceedings and did not show the slightest sign of emotion.

There were five charges against him, 4 of shooting with intent to do grievous bodily harm to Walter Cecil TOOBY, aged 22, bank cashier, Robert VIPOND, aged 57, gardener, John STEVENSON, aged 34, Corporation labourer, and John CLARKE, aged 27, police-constable, and the 5th charge was of assaulting and robbing TOOBY of 2-8s.

A brief statement was made by Mr Howard ROBERTS, who asked for a remand for 8 days. He said at 11.25am the previous day the prisoner entered the District Bank, Great Homer St, and called, "Hands up" to Mr TOOBY, who was alone behind the counter at the time levelling a big revolver at him. TOOBY seized a counter paper file and threw it at the prisoner and shouted to the manager who was in the private room. The prisoner then fired point-blank at TOOBY, who fell shot in the chest. The prisoner then made a grab at some silver on the counter, some of which was afterwards found on the prisoner, and ran to the door. Mr CALKELD, the manager rushed out of his private office, and seeing the prisoner going through the door, pursued him across the street, shouting as he ran, "Stop thief". A Market-constable named MOORE joined in the chase. While running across the North Haymarket the prisoner fired three shots. One of the bullets struck the head of John STEVENSON who had attempted to stop the fugitive. The prisoner then turned and fired at the crowd wounding VIPOND. The third shot left its mark on the roof of the market. The chase continued into Juvenal St, where Police-constable CLARKE and Market-constable SMITHWICK joined in. The prisoner fired at CLARKE but missed, the bullet splintering the window of a shop. CLARKE continued the pursuit and was within a few yards of McALLISTER when he turned round and fired again at the constable the bullet hitting him in the breast. The prisoner ran into Grosvenor St and Blodwen St, Police-constable KERR saw the prisoner running towards him with the revolver in his hand, 5 yds distance from the constable the prisoner stopped and aimed at him. He pulled the trigger but there was no response, all six cartridges having by this time expended. The prisoner was then seized and taken to the bridewell.

The four injured persons were removed to hospital, and two of them STEVENSON and VIPOND, were so seriously injured that their depositions were taken in the presence of the prisoner

Chief Inspector MOORE, stated that when he read the charges over the prisoner replied, "I have nothing to say" In answer to the charge of shooting VIPOND he said, "He got in the way of the gun" and regarding the police-constable who was shot said, "I did not aim at him, sir"

McALLISTER made no objection to the remand.


Liverpool, February 3rd, 1927

Ten years for bank raider

Clemency because of youth

At Liverpool Assizes yesterday William McALLISTER, aged 19, a labourer, was sentenced to ten years penal servitude on charges in connection with his raid on the, District Bank, Great Homer St, on October 13th. When four persons were shot down, one of these Police-constable CLARKE, has b y his injury lost the use of his left arm, while John STEVENSON, was for three weeks believed to be dying as a result of the shot wound to his head, he is now suffering from severe paralysis.

Mr Justice GREER in passing sentence, said this crime was very rare in this country and he was willing to accept McALLISTER'S statement that other men had put him up to the crime. Had he been older he would have gone to prison for 20 years, but, he had youth on his side and there was a possibility with a shorter sentence he would make good. The crime of robbery under arms was punishable with the cat, but in passing a sentence of 10 years he would omit that punishment.

The Judge said, John STEVENSON had performed an act of great courage in assisting the police, and had suffered enormously in consequence of that act. Under the statutory powers he had awarded him 50. "The reward, I am afraid" the Judge added, "is no sort of compensation for what he has suffered."


Liverpool August 2nd 1928

O.B.E, Medal for Liverpool Constable, captured armed raider

The Lord Mayor of Liverpool Miss Margaret BEVAN, yesterday presented the medal of the Order of the British Empire to Market Constable William Burnett SMITHWICK of Liverpool, for meritorious service. SMITHWICK chased and captured an armed bank raider, despite the fact that the runaway fired point-blank at him after he had shot three other persons who attempted to stop him. The Chief Constable of Liverpool Mr L. D. L. EVERETT, said SMITHWICK'S courageous act resulted in the capture of the dangerous criminal. "We police" he added, " are merely paid citizens in uniform who are looking after the interests of the community, and I appeal to citizens to help the police whenever their assistance is needed"

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