In 1962 a 12 year old girl was stabbed to death in Childwall in a random and motiveless killing, leading to a 15 year old boy being detained for life.
On Sunday 9th September 1962 Lesley Hobbs was left at home at 191 Childwall Valley Road looking after her three younger siblings whilst her parents went out. When they returned at 11.30pm they found Lesley's blood stained and battered body in the lounge, but upstairs the three younger children were asleep and had not been disturbed.
Door to door enquiries by police soon identified three possible suspects, one of whom was described in the following day's Liverpool Echo as 'youngish, tall, well built with fair hair wearing a dark tunic type jacket and tight fitting jeans'. This male had been seen crossing Childwall Valley Road by the nearby high school for girls an hour before the gruesome find.
Within 24 hours of the killing there were 500 detectives on the case, many of which had been drafted in from Bootle, Wallasey and other neighbouring forces. They were assisted by 30 dogs who roamed the railway embankment searching for the murder weapon.
Enquiries eventually led to the arrest of a 15 year old office clerk called Peter Rix, who lived in Craighurst Road. He was the son of a merchant seaman and had splashes of blood on his coat. He claimed that he had dreamt about killing a girl and enjoyed it, leading to him carrying out a random attack as 'girls got on his nerves.' After knocking at the property, he stabbed Lesley twice and then set about her with a poker then tied her hands behind her back. Rumours persisted in the area that Rix, a former pupil of the Holt School (now Childwall College) and Lesley may have been seeing one another, but they were never substantiated.
Rix was charged in December and his trial took place in February 1964. The Guardian reported that with his father away at sea for long periods his mother was unable to control his behaviour. Described by professionals as being unpopular at school and 'lacking in feeling for others, in shame and remorse' no motive was established for the crime. With a psychopathic disorder being diagnosed, he was found guilty of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and sentenced to be detained for life.