John Kirby (c.1941–1973) was murdered in Corporation Park, Blackburn, in November 1973, aged 32. He had spent Saturday night drinking at the Merchants Hotel in Darwen Street, Blackburn, a popular gay pub at the time. Ken Pilling, then-licensee of the Merchants Hotel, acted as a link man between Blackburn’s gay community and police. He said Corporation Park was a popular late-night meeting place for gay men. An unemployed labourer, Anthony Craig, was convicted of the murder. He told the court he pretended to be gay so that he could rob Mr Kirby in the park. 
- "The murder that sent shockwaves through Blackburn", Lancashire Telegraph, 5 August 2014.