Memorable Manitobans: Albert Victor Westgate (1901-1944)
Born at Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, England on 13 July 1901, into a prominent British family, he was working as a teamster at Lloydminster, Saskatchewan when, in April 1917, he enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. After being injured and returned to Canada in May 1919, he settled at Winnipeg and worked as a taxi driver. On 18 October 1921, he married Janetta Freeman Shirley Bliss.
In February 1928, he was arrested on a charge of brutally murdering a young married woman, with whom he was infatuated, at the intersection of North Drive and Willow Street in what is now the Wildewood golf course. Defended at trial by lawyer Charles Stewart Tupper, he was found guilty and sentenced to hang. Two days before the hanging was carried out, he received a reprieve from the federal Deputy Minister of Justice and his sentence was commuted to life in prison.
After 14 years in Stony Mountain Penitentiary, he was paroled and found work as a mechanic in Winnipeg. In December 1943, he was arrested again, this time for strangling a 16-year-old waitress in the Marlborough Hotel. Defended again by Tupper, he was again found guilty. This time, the hanging sentence was carried out at Headingley Gaol on 24 July 1944. He was buried in the military section of Brookside Cemetery.
The case is the subject of the 1999 book Winnipeg’s Westgate Murders by Frank W. Anderson.
Attestation paper, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Library and Archives Canada.
Marriage registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Albert Westgate committed for jury trial at assizes,” Winnipeg Tribune, 11 January 1944, page 1.
“In defense of the death penalty” by Mark Gribben, The Malefactor’s Register.
““Wordless” Westgate,” Catt’s True Crime Corner, 11 January 2019.
This page was prepared by Rick Wishart and Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 7 February 2022