Weaste Cemetery

Biographies of people buried between 1920 & 29

John Austin (1928 - 1929)

John Austin was born on 22nd May 1928 and was only 14 months old when he was tragically killed by his mother. The Salford Reporter dubbed it "The Pendleton Tragedy".


John's mother was Jane Austin, aged 23, of 61, Bury Street, Pendleton. Jane was described as a troubled young woman, having suffered from epileptic seizures all her life, which had prevented her attending school as a girl. Her son John was illegitimate, although there is no mention of John's father. Jane had been confined to the mental ward at hospital three months before John was born. Jane lived with her mother and step father, Mr and Mrs Nesbit, but her son John, lived with a neighbour, Mrs Downing, at 71, Bury Street.


On Saturday afternoon, 17th August 1929, Jane and her mother, Alice Nesbit, picked up baby John from Mrs Downing's house and took him to a haberdasher shop on Ellor Street for some new clothing. Jane wanted to buy him a black baby-suit, but the Assistant said that they didn't have black suits for babies. At this point Jane suddenly grabbed the child and ran across Ellor Street into Harrison Street. Her mother, who was "rather bad on her feet" could not follow quickly enough, but met her daughter coming out of an entry leading to Harrison Street.


Mrs Nesbit asked Jane "what have you done with the baby"? Jane replied, "it is bleeding well down there, go and get him". Mrs Nesbit rushed down the entry and found John lying on the ground in a pool of blood. He was bleeding from a wound in his throat. Mrs Nesbit wrapped him in a shawl and he was rushed to Salford Royal Hospital, where he was "found to be dead". Police recovered a razor, belonging to Jane's Grandfather, in a nearby drain. At the Inquest, Dr Robert Bell stated that John had an 8 inch cut to muscles and windpipe and that death was due to this cut, haemorrhage and shock.


The Funeral took place on Saturday 24th. A dense crowd assembled in Bury Street and Special Policemen were drafted in. Another huge crowd waited outside the gates of Weaste Cemetery and followed the courtege into the cemetery. There were so many wreaths that some were left at the house and taken to the Cemetery the next day. A collection amongst neighbours paid for the funeral.