A FORMER Knutsford Guardian reporter believes he has unravelled the mystery surrounding an unsolved murder which shook the town more than 120 years ago.

Born and bred in Knutsford, Colin Evans began his career at the paper in 1964 and regularly covered cases at the Sessions House.

Using his experience as a crime reporter, the 75-year-old has completed a two-and-a-half-year investigation into the 1901 killing of John Bould, who was brutally gunned down in the town.

Now retired and living in Scotland, Colin has revealed his findings in his third book, 'No Pity. The cold-blooded murder which gripped Edwardian Britain - an investigation'.

He said: “Why dig it all up now? One major factor was that the murder took place within a few minutes’ stroll from the old Knutsford Guardian office at 113 King Street where I started work in 1964.

"It is a similar distance from the home of the young girl who became my grandmother - she lived in Tatton Street - and within spitting range of the Knutsford Boys Club’s sports fields where I’d played football right through my childhood.

"Despite all this geographical closeness,  I’d never heard about the murder until 2020. Obviously it intrigued me."

The cold case Colin re-opened saw 21-year-old Knutsford man James Parrott charged with using a Colt pocket revolver to kill Mr Bould.

Knutsford Guardian: Colin has published his findings in his new bookColin has published his findings in his new book (Image: Colin Evans)Had he been convicted, Mr Parrott, whose family ran a draper's shop in King Street, would have been hanged as the killer of Mr Bould, a journeyman tailor who had only been living and working in Knutsford for a few months.

Colin added: “John Bould was a harmless man who worked hard for a couple of tailors in Knutsford.

"He was law-abiding and said openly he hated violence, particularly the use of firearms. But he was gunned down in a brutal, ruthless attack, for no apparent reason.

“Picture the scene - it is Easter Sunday evening, the town is at peace.

"John Bould is taking his customary walk along Mere Heath Lane when, suddenly, five shots crackle through the air.

"Moments later his bullet-riddled body is found on the verge and a man is seen running away.

"Two weeks later, police arrested James Parrott as he stepped off a train at Knutsford station.

"He protested his innocence right from the start, but was held at the prison until his trial at Chester three months later.

"For all that time he faced the possibility of being hanged at the prison, only a few hundred yards from King Street where he was born. But Parrott was found not guilty, and the police closed the case.

"The basic facts of the murder were sensational enough, but newspapers also feasted on an associated sex scandal involving a domestic servant, who worked in the town, and a well-known Altrincham businessman.

"As a result of all this publicity, visitors poured into Knutsford to view the murder spot and to attend the early judicial hearings at the Sessions House.

"But when Parrott was cleared, interest quickly died away. There were no other suspects and the police decided not to take it further."

Mr Bould was buried in the parish church graveyard. Mr Parrott and his family left Knutsford for Sale and Manchester. He married twice, had no children, and died at Withington Hospital in 1964.

Colin's book is published by Etive Independent Publishing and available on Amazon.