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Murder Most 'Orrid. Looking for soldier's details


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1923

October 30th: Phillip Murray31)

Edinburgh

A Dundee born newsvendor convicted of the murder of William Ronald Cree (30), who died as a result of being thrown through a second storey window on 23 June. Murray claimed at the trial that he had returned to the house on Jamaica Street, Edinburgh, that he shared with his girlfriend and found her in the bedroom with Cree. The two men began to argue and Cree leapt from the window to escape a beating from Murray, who was well over six feet tall. The prosecution alleged that Murray had thrown Cree through the window in a jealous rage after catching him with his girlfriend. He was found guilty by a majority of 11-4 on 8 October, and sentenced to death. The jury added a recommendation for mercy, and after Lord Constable had passed the sentence, Murray reiterated his innocence and thanked his counsel for their help. 22,000 people signed a petition for a reprieve before Murray walked, carrying a crucifix, to the scaffold where he was hanged by John Ellis. It was the last execution at Calton prison. Both former soldiers.

1926

November 24th: James McHUGH (31)

Dublin

The former soldier (?) was sentenced to death by Mr Justice O'Byrne on 27 October, for the murder of William Dollinson, whom he kicked to death at Now Ross on 24 April. Hanged by Thomas Pierrepoint and Robinson.

1927

January 24th: James McKAY (40)

Glasgow . Born 1887

McKay, a former soldier, was convicted of the murder of his aged mother, Mrs Agnes Arbuckle; parts of her dismembered body were found in a sack on the banks of the River Clyde, while the other sections were discovered in a coal bunker at her Glasgow home. Sentenced by Lord Ormindale at the Glasgow Circuit Court in December 1927 after his plea of insanity was disregarded. A witness at the trial told the court that McKay had invited him to Mrs Arbuckle's house on 12 October to help move a heavy tin trunk. Together they moved it to McKay's lodgings. The next day, the trunk was back at the house, only now it was considerably lighter than when it had left. Another witness told how she saw McKay on the day that his mother had disappeared, covered in mud. After sentence was passed he called out 'Cheer up' to sobbing relatives in the court as he was ushered from the dock. His appeal. the first in a Scottish court, was heard in Edinburgh, and dismissed after the appeal court agreed with the original finding. Hanged by Robert Baxter.

1927

July 27th: William John MAYNARD (36)

Exeter

Maynard earned a good living as a rabbit trapper in his home town of Poundstock, Cornwall. His traps (over a thousand) were in place in most of the farms in the area and he needed two assistants to run the business. A few miles from Poundstock lived an old recluse, Richard Francis Roadley (84), who occupied a cottage at Titson. Although he lived in terribly squalid circumstances, it was a popular rumour that the old man was an eccentric sitting on a tidy sum. On Sunday afternoon, 19 February, the old man was found battered about the head in his cottage, and he died before he could be taken to hospital. The house had been rifled and the contents of the drawers strewn across the floor. Maynard was interviewed as part of the routine inquiries and denied any involvement. There was nothing to suggest he was not telling the truth and the officers left. The next day, he made another statement and admitted that on the night of the murder he had called at the house with an accomplice. Maynard, a former serviceman, claimed that he had waited outside while his friend went in to see what he could thieve. When the old man offered resistance, the accomplice beat him to death. Maynard then told police where they could find two stolen watches. The man Maynard blamed for the murder was able to satisfy the police that he was in no way involved. As a result of his efforts to shift the blame, Maynard found himself before Mr Justice Swift at the June sitting of Bodmin Assizes. He reiterated his statement that the accomplice committed the crime but the man's alibi was strong and the jury took only a short time to return a guilty verdict. Maynard was duly hanged by Thomas Pierrepoint and Thomas Phillips for a crime attributed to 'elemental avarice.'

O'Donnell, Leo George

Twenty two year old Leo George O'Donnell was a Sergeant in the Royal Army Medical Corps convicted at Hampshire Assizes on 9 February of the murder of a Lieutenant William Frederick Watterton (Hon Lt and QM) at Aldershot. On New Year's Day 1917, O'Donnell announced his engagement to the daughter of Lieutenant Watterton, a quartermaster officer at a nearby hospital. Later that day, Miss Watterton, who served in the Women's Auxiliary Service, obtained a night pass so that she could celebrate her engagement with a girlfriend. After a night's drinking, the girls returned to Lieutenant Watterton's bungalow, expecting to find him home. He was not there and they decided to wait for him. At l 1.30pm, O'Donnell called round and said that the Lieutenant had left earlier that night for an urgent appointment. The statement implied that O'Donnell could have been at the bungalow earlier; and his sudden return so late made the two women suspicious. Shortly before midnight, O'Donnell left and headed for the hospital where he asked to be shown into the quartermaster's office - where patients' valuables were kept - claiming to have been sent by the Lieutenant. Unable to produce the pass key, O'Donnell was refused entry and he returned to his billet. The next day, William Watterton's body was found in a trench on a nearby training ground. He had been battered to death - there were over twenty four cuts to his head - and his pockets had been rifled. O'Donnell was arrested at once when it was learned that he had tried to gain entry to the offices. While held on remand, he offered a friend £250 if he would provide him with an alibi. Tried before Mr Justice Darling, O'Donnell denied the murder. The prosecution said he had committed the crime in order to obtain the key to the quartermaster's office and thereby steal the valuables within. O'Donnell claimed that the real killer was a man blackmailing Watterton over an alleged affair with a young Spanish girl. He was hanged, at Manchester, in a prison uniform by John Ellis and Robert Baxter on the 29th March 1917 at Winchester.

Son of William Watterton, of Walthamstow, London; husband of the late Alice Catherine Watterton, of Chapelizod, Co. Dublin. Aged 48.

O'Connor, Edward

Edward O'Connor, a former soldier (?) was convicted of the murder of his five year old son, Thomas, at Stafford, on Sunday 31st July. At Sam that morning, he went to his local police station and told the startled desk sergeant: 'Come on, I'll find you a job. I've killed three or four of my kids with these,' he said, offering a pair of blood stained razors. 'I could not find the missus and youngest or I would have done them in too!' Police accompanied him back to his house and found one child dead from neck injuries and three others in a serious condition. They subsequently recovered. On 16 November, O'Connor stood trial at Stafford Assizes and blamed his mother-in-law for his unhappy marriage, which had led him to commit the terrible crime. He left a last letter for his wife written on the morning of his execution: 'Well, Lizzie, by the time you get my letter I will have gone to my maker... It is God's will that I leave this world of trials. I am reconciled to that fate ... I shall remember you, Lizzie, my wife, and I ask you sometimes to remember me in your prayers.' It ended with: 'Kiss the children for me. God bless you all. As I think, I hear you as of old, calling 'Ted, good-bye." He was hanged by John Ellis on the 22nd December 1921 at Birmingham.

Perdovich, Hyman

Hyman Perdovich was a Jewish Russian immigrant who was convicted of the murder of his work foreman. Hyman was not a well man, he had been wounded in the war as was still receiving treatment. Because of his problem he was absent from work a lot and felt that the foreman, Solomon Franks was treating him badly because of this. On the 15th August 1919 Hyman took a knife and stabbed 48 year old Solomon in the neck twice. Seeing Solomon lying dead at his feet Hyman turned and made his way to the nearest police station where he told them exactly what he had done. His case was heard at Manchester Assizes and he was quickly found guilty and sentenced to hang. The sentence was carried out on the 6th January 1920 by John Ellis. He was 39 years old when he died.

Pomroy, Bernard

Bernard Pomroy was a shop assistant from Hemel Hempstead who was sentenced to death at the Old Bailey by Mr Justice Horridge on 1 March, for the murder of Miss Alice Cheshire whose throat he cut while in a taxi cab on 23 January. He was hanged by John Ellis and Edward Taylor on the 5th April 1923 at Pentonville prison aged just twenty five. Possible he served ??

Perry, Henry

Thirty seven year ofl Perry was a soldier who returned home from fighting in the Middle East and murdered the Cornish family, forty seven year old Walter and his wife Alice who was forty three, and their two children, Alice who was fouteen and Marie aged five, at Forest Gate, east London. Perry knew the family as Mrs Cornish was his step father's sister. He lodged with them for a while until he was asked to leave following a row. On 28th April, as he was passing the house, Mrs Cornish invited him in. They were soon arguing again until Perry picked up an axe and beat her to death. He then waited for each member of the family to return home and systematically killed them. He also stole money and valuables from the house. Perry pleaded insanity at his trial, and it was alleged that he was insane after being beaten and tortured at the hands of the Turks while a prisoner during the war. He had seventeen previous criminal convictions, including violence. Found guilty at the Old Bailey on 27th May, sentenced to death by Mr Justice Darling, Perry was hanged by John Ellis and William Willis on the 10th July 1919 in Pentonville.

Pratley, Michael

On 7 March, three armed and masked men attempted a wages robbery of a Belfast factory. One of the employees. Nelson Leech, offered resistance and was shot in the back. The disturbance alerted police from an adjacent barracks who gave chase, eventually detaining thirty year old Michael Pratley, a tailor. who tried to shoot his arresting officer only for his pistol to jam. Pratley was taken into custody and when Nelson Leech died, was charged with murder. He admitted that while he did take part in the robbery, he was not responsible for firing the fatal shot. Evidence suggested otherwise and he was found guilty. His accomplices were apprehended and later sentenced to lengthy terms of imprisonment. He was hanged by William Willis and Robert Wilson on the 8th May 1924 in Belfast. Was he a former soldier..??

Power, Patrick

Power was a forty one year old unemployed Irish labourer convicted of the murder of his landlady, Mrs Sarah Ann Sykes. Power, who claimed unemployment benefit, had been lodging with the Sykes for several months. At the beginning of April, he borrowed £5 from Mrs Sykes; on 11th April, Mr Sykes informed Power that if he did not repay the loan that day, he would be evicted. Sykes then went off to work as usual, and later that afternoon Power walked into Pendleton police station, Salford, and confessed that he had killed his landlady. Officers accompanied him back to the house and found her body lying under a piano. She had been attacked with a hammer and knife and had massive injuries. Power claimed he had no idea what had happened. At his trial before Mr Justice Finlay on 8th May at Manchester Assizes, his defence claimed that Power's mind was distorted by spiritulism, and they asked for a verdict of guilty but insane. They also declared that Power was a former soldier with over twenty years service, and although he was in debt to the Sykes, his bank balance was in the black to the tune of some £40. He was hanged by William Willis on the 26th May 1925 in Manchester.

Robinson, John

On the 6th May 1927 a man deposited a large, black trunk at Charing Cross Station left-luggage office. He gave instructions for the trunk to be carefully handled and then left the station in a taxi. On the following Monday one of the attendants noticed an awful smell coming from the trunk and becoming suspicious called for a policeman. The policeman opened the trunk to find it contained five brown paper parcels, tied with string. Each package was quite heavy and on opening was found to contain a portion of a body wrapped in items of clothing, towels and a duster.

The body parts were examined by Sir Bernard Spilsbury and he concluded that the body was that of a stout woman about 35-years-old. She had bruises on her stomach, forehead and back and that these had been caused, while unconscious. The woman had died of asphyxiation. Sir Bernard believed that the woman had been dead about a week. Also in the trunk were a number of other items such as, a pair of black shoes, a handbag, a pair of knickers that had a tab marked 'P. HOLT' and several items of clothing bearing laundry marks.

From the laundry marks the police were able to trace the knickers to a Mrs Holt who lived in Chelsea. The police were surprised to find that she was still alive. Even so the police were still confident that they were getting closer to the murderer. It was considered likely that the knickers had been stolen by one of the ten female servants that Mrs Holt had employed in the last two years. All the servants were accounted for except Mrs Rolls. The police asked Mrs Holt to identify the head of the victim and she confirmed it as that of Mrs Rolls.

Mrs Rolls was really called Mrs Minnie Alice Bonati. She had been married to an Italian waiter named Bonati but had left him to go and live with a man named Rolls and had subsequently taken his name. She was 36-years-old and had been working as a prostitute. She had last been seen alive in Sydney Street, Chelsea, between 3.45pm and 4pm on Wednesday 4th May.

Meanwhile police had also been trying to trace the origins of the trunk and had published photos of it in the press. A shopowner recognised it and identified it as being one that he had sold, for 12/6, to a dark man of average height with a military bearing. The next stroke of luck occured when the taxi-driver came forward who had taken the man to Charing Cross Station. He told police that he had taken two men to Rochester Row police station some time after 1pm on the Friday. After he had dropped this fare he was returning when he was hailed by a man standing outside a building opposite the police station and he had helped him to carry a large trunk from the building to the cab. He had taken the man to Charing Cross Station where the trunk had been deposited. The building in Rochester Row was identified as No. 86. The tenant of two rooms on the second floor was missing. He was John Robinson, an estate agent and former soldier who had been struggling to stay in business.

Police traced Robinson's lodgings in Kennington but he had left. However, police found a telegram that had been returned and it was addressed to 'Robinson, Greyhound Hotel, Hammersmith'. This turned out to be Mrs Robinson, who worked there. Mrs Robinson wasn't his real wife as he had still been married to another when they married. Robinson had bigamously married her after he had left his first wife and their four children. When she found this out she agreed to assist the police by meeting Robinson as he had requested. On Thursday 19th May she went to the Elephant & Castle, Walworth, accompanied by Chief Inspector George Cornish.

Robinson was arrested and taken back to be interviewed at Scotland Yard where he denied any involvement in the killing. He was placed on an identity parade but the shopkeeper, the taxi-driver and the porter all failed to pick him out and he was released.

Chief Inspector Cornish decided to back a hunch and had the duster from the trunk washed. It revealed the word 'GREYHOUND' and a further search of Robinson's office turned up a bloodstained match caught in the wickerwork of a wastepaper basket. Robinson was brought back to Scotland Yard on the 23rd May. He then made a statement in which he stated that

"I met her at Victoria and took her to my office. I want to tell you all about it. I done it and cut her up."

The trial took place at the Old Bailey and opened on Monday 11th July. Robinson's defence was that he had been accosted by Mrs Bonati at Victoria Station and they had gone back to his office in Rochester Row. When they got there he said she had demanded money and when he refused she had become abusive and had tried to strike him. In order to protect himself he had pushed her away but she had lost her footing and had fallen and hit her head on a coal-scuttle. He had, he said, left the office expecting her to recover and leave but when he returned the woman was still lying there.

Feeling sure no one would believe him he had been in a panic. He had bought a knife and the trunk and had dismembered the corpse and deposited it at Charing Cross Station. He admitted to everything except an intent to kill. One witness for the defence was the victims husband Frederick Rolls who testified that the dead woman was an alcoholic and could become very violent. This statement however true did not impress the jury and they retired for an hour before returning a guilty verdict.

On Wednesday 13th July, 36-year-old Robinson was sentenced to death. It was perhaps not the murder that had disgusted everyone but the manner in which he had tried to dispose of the body, she was left no dignity. He was hanged at Pentonville Prison on 12th August 1927.

Robinson, George

George Robinson who was a farm labourer from Dorrington who was convicted of the murder of his girlfriend, Frances Florence Pavey who was just eighteen years old. They had been going out together for a few months when she broke off their relationship. Unable to accept this he tried to persuade her to resume the relationship. When she refused he cut her throat and then his own. After being nursed back to health, he stood trial at Lincoln Assizes on 30 October, held inside Lincoln Castle. He was just 27 when he was hung on the 13th December 1922 Possible ex-serviceman

Rouse, Alfred Arthur

In the early hours of the morning on the 6 November 1930 Alfred Brown and William Bailey who were cousins were returning from a Guy Fawkes' Night Dance in Northampton. As they walked along Hardingstone Lane, on their way home they saw a man appear in front of them. He was of stocky build and was carrying a small suitcase. The man hurried past the two youths towards the main London-Northampton road.

The young men carried on down the lane and could see a glow from a fire up ahead. When they got closer they could see that it was a car that was ablaze. They quickly ran to the village and fetched two local constables. After they had put the fire out they could see that someone had been in the car which was a Morris Minor. Senior officers arrived and they slowly began to build up a picture of what had happened. One stroke of luck seemed to be that the car's rear licence plate had survived the fire and it was determined to be MU 1468. They were soon able to trace that the car was registered to 37-year-old commercial traveller A. A. Rouse of Buxted Road, Finchley, north London. Mrs Rouse was unable to identify the remains from the car as her husband.

One part of the puzzle that was missing seemed to be the man the two youths had seen. At that time in the morning it was too much of a coincidence for him not to be connected. They circulated his description to the press. Miss Phyllis Jenkins, of Gellygaer, Glamorgan, bought a copy of the 'Daily Sketch' with the description of the incident. She showed it to a man who had arrived the previous evening who had told her that his car had been stolen near Northampton. He denied that it was his car. The man was Rouse and Phyllis' sister, Ivy, was his pregnant girlfriend. The 'Daily Sketch' the next day carried more details, including Rouse's name. He returned to London by bus on 7 November, but gossip about his visit and departure had reached the ears of Cardiff police. They quickly informed Scotland Yard and, when he got off the bus at Victoria Bus Station, he was met by DS Skelly.

In his story he told detectives that he had been travelling overnight to Leicester and had picked up a hitchhiker. He had taken a wrong turn and found himself in Hardingstone Lane. At that point he decided to stop for a nap. He had got out of the car to relieve himself and asked his passenger to fill the petrol tank with the contents of a can that was in the car. The man had then, according to Rouse, asked him if he had something he could smoke. Rouse, a non-smoker, conveniently had a cigar with him and he had given it to the man. This seemed to the police to be a little strange. Rouse went on to say that he had left the car and walked over 200 yards to relieve himself. It was strange but he had taken his suitcase with him on this call of nature. He said that on his way back he saw the car burst into flames. He said he tried to reach the man trapped in the car but had failed and panicked.

Police started to look into the background of this man and found out some interesting facts. He had been born on 6 April 1894, the son of shopkeepers in Herne Hill, London. He had married Lily May Watkins in November 1914 and had almost immediately left to serve in France in the Great War. It was during this service that he had been injured when he had received a head wound in May 1915 and had never been the same since.

When he left the army he got a job as a commercial traveller with his job taking him over a large area. This had given him chance to charm his way into the lives and beds of dozens of women. He had over 80 women on his 'visiting list' by 1930, had fathered several illegitimate children and had even married bigamously. One of his girlfriends was in hospital expecting her second child by Rouse just four days before the incident. Rouse had a pile of maintenance orders building up against him and knew that there was no way that he keep up the payments on his wages. This being the case the police suddenly realised that they now had their motive. The only way Rouse could see out of this situation was to vanish. What better way than to die in a fire.

Alfred Arthur Rouse was charged with murder of an unknown man and brought to trial on 26 January 1931 at Northampton Assizes. Mr Norman Birkett, prosecuting, made no attempt to play on Rouse's lifestyle, he didn't have to. Rouse had told enough lies to condemn himself. Technical evidence was given that showed that the carburettor had been tampered with before the fire had started and Rouse's fate was sealed.

The trial took six days the jury retired to consider their verdict taking just 75 minutes to return a guilty verdict. Rouse was hanged at Bedford prison on 10 March by Tom Pierrepoint . The identity of the victim remains unknown but it may have been an innocent hiker as Rouse had said.

Rutherford, Norman Cecil, Lieutenant Colonel DSO RAMC

Found guilty of the murder of Major MILES CHARLES CARISTON SETON, who he killed on the 13.3.19 (according to the CWGC) but I think it was the 14.3.19. Rutherford shot Seton six times in the drawing room of his cousin's house - Sir Malcolm Seton. The death sentence was overthrown because of insanity and Rutherford served 10 years in Broadmore. Seton's cause of death is not listed on the AWM....!

Smiley, William

William Smiley was a thirty three year old farm labourer and former soldier who was convicted of the murder of Miss Margaret Macauley aged forty eight and her sister, Miss Sarah Macauley who was forty three. Both were found shot dead on the floor of their brother's house at Armog, Co Antrim. Over £30 belonging to their brother, a local magistrate, was missing. When investigations led to William Smiley, the money was found concealed in one of his boots. He was convicted at Belfast Assizes and hanged by Thomas Pierrepoint on 8th August 1928, he left a full confession in the condemned cell.

Sowerby, Edwin

Twenty eight year old Edwin Sowerby a miner, and a former soldier, was sentenced to death at Leeds Assizes on 9th December 1920 by Mr Justice Salter for the murder of his former girlfriend, Jane Darwell who was only seventeen. The murder took place at Croston near Wakefield after she had broken off their relationship. Not happy with the situation he followed her on the 26th October to a dance. He had been drinking heavily and in a drunken rage he attacked her and cut her throat, he then turned the razor on himself. Sowerby was taken to hospital where he was nursed back to health before being hanged by Thomas Pierrepoint The sentence was carried out on 30th December 1920 in Leeds.

Sullivan, William

Forty one year old former soldier William Sullivan was convicted at Avonmouth Assizes of the murder of Margaret Thomas, who was found battered to death with a large iron bolt in her isolated cottage at Coytre. near Newport. There was considerable evidence against him: neighbours had seen him near the cottage: he had sold some clothes that had belonged to the dead woman: and a pair of his boots were found in the cottage. He was hanged by John Ellis. He was executed on March 23rd 1922 at Usk.

Thompson, Harry

Harry Thompson was sentenced to death at Leeds Assizes for the murder of twenty three year old Alice Kaye, who was found dead near Huddersfield, on the 6th November. Alice Kaye was the wife of a soldier who had enlisted in 1914. Since then she had lived alone at Honley, Huddersfield. Thompson had met Alice before the war, and she told him that her husband was her brother. While her husband was overseas, Thompson and Alice grew intimate, and he started giving her money in the form of a weekly allowance. He remained unaware of her marriage but eventually learned in November 1915. On the night of the 6th November, Alice failed to turn up for a meeting with her aunt. The next morning, she was found fully clothed on her bed with a cut throat. There was no sign of a struggle or a break-in. Two days later, Thompson stopped a policeman in the street and confessed to him that he had murdered Alice. He claimed that he had hoped to marry her but had lost his mind and attacked her when she said she was already married. Standing before Mr Justice Sankey on the 29th November, he pleaded not guilty and retracted his confession, but was convicted. He was fifty five when he was hanged by Thomas Pierrepoiat and Edward Taylor in Wakefield on the 22nd December 1915.

Thompson, Henry, born 1890

Henry Thompson was a Welsh coal-miner and former soldier who, in January 1926, left his wife and five children in the valleys having secured a better job at Chatham, Kent. He intended to send for his family once he had settled into his new employment. He took lodgings with Mrs Rose Smith and soon found that he had much in common with his new landlady. Her husband was away from home serving in the Royal Navy, and she enjoyed a drink. They cured their lonliness by becoming lovers and even her young children took to him, affectionately calling him 'Uncle Harry.' Before long, Thompson learned that he was not the only man sharing Mrs Smith's bed, a discovery that made him mad with jealousy. They had a quarrel during which she made some comment that drove him to pick up a razor and cut her throat. He immediately called for the police. He was convicted after a short trial at Maidstone Assizes before Mr Justice Horridge on 21 February and hanged by Thomas Pierrepoint and William Willis in Maidstone on the 9th March 1926 aged thirty six. Thompson had shown no fear while in the condemned cell, and on the eve of his execution he was playing cards with his warders whilst singing 'Show me the way to go home!'

Thorpe, William Henry

Forty five year old William Henry Thorpe was a one-legged watchman sentenced to death by Mr Justice Wright at Manchester Assizes on 24th February for the murder of his former sweetheart, thirty nine year old Mrs Frances Clarke, at Bolton. On Thursday evening, 19th November, 1925, a couple of days after discovering that Frances had got married, Thorpe went out and got very drunk. In the early hours of the following morning, he waited outside her mother's house, where the couple were staying. After his former love's husband had gone to work, he entered and cut her throat as she lay in bed. Frances's mother heard the scream followed by the sound of Thorpe fleeing the house. She recognised the sound his wooden leg made on the staircase because he had lodged with her several years earlier. A search was made for Thorpe and he was later arrested at his home just as he was about to draw the razor across his throat. He was hanged by William Willis in Manchester on the 16th March 1926. SWB??

Wright, William

William Wright, a former soldier was convicted of the murder of his girlfriend, Annie Coulbeck who was thirty four years old. At the time of the murder she lived alone in a cottage at Caister, Lincolnshire. Thirty nine year old Wright was a tailor by trade. He had got Annie pregnant and was not pleased and was heard to tell a friend that he would 'sort out her condition.' On 29 October 1919, she was found strangled at her cottage. Wright was the obvious suspect and when brought in for questioning soon confessed that he had strangled her following an argument over a broach he claimed had been given to her by another man. Wright was found guilty and sentenced to death. The sentence was carried out by Thomas Pierrepoint on the 10th March 1920.

Williamson, James Hutton

James Hutton Williamson, who had recently left the army, was sentenced to death at Durham Assizes by Mr Justice Bray on 1 March 1922, and hanged by Thomas Pierrepoint for the murder of his wife at Houghton-le-Spring by cutting her throat. The fatal wound was so bad it almost severed her head. This foul act was the result of a quarrel that had taken place on the 10th January 1922. James Williamson was thirty seven years old when he was hanged.

Westwood, Samuel

Samuel Westwood was only 26 when he was hanged by John Ellis for the murder of his wife. Westwood who was a keysmith was found guilty of murder at Stafford Assizes and his plea of manslaughter was rejected. He had apparently attacked his wife at Willenhall on 11 September while she was staying with her mother-in-law. They had argued the day before and she had left him. He was here to ask her to come home but when she refused he stabbed her. The sentence of death was carried out in Birmingham on the 30th December 1920. Former serviceman?

Yeldham, William James

William James Yeldham was a twenty three year old labourer charged, along with his wife Elsie who was a year younger at twenty two, with the murder of George Stanley Grimshaw, a decorator, who was found beaten and robbed in Epping Forest, Essex. The motive for the crime lay with the couple's extreme poverty. It was initially thought that the victim may have been a 'peeping Tom' but the police soon realised that they were dealing with a well planned assault. Yeldham and his wife had been living rough near Braintree since the end of April. On 17 May, Elsie arranged to meet Grimshaw, with whom she had been friendly for several years. She led him to a quiet spot in the forest and as they kissed, Yeldham sneaked up behind them and beat Grimshaw about the head with a spanner. They were both sentenced to death by Mr Justice Shearman at the Old Bailey on 19 July. They appealed and on 23August, the Home Secretary announced that he had reprieved Elsie Yeldham but not her husband, who was subsequently hanged by John Ellis and William Willis. The execution took place in Pentonville on the 5 September 1922. Possible ex-serviceman

Yeldham was in the Navy since the age of 12 and they killed George Stanley Grimeshaw in Higgams Park Chingford which is near the forest.

WW2 stuff below

Heys, Arthur

Arthur Heys was a Leading Aircraftsman in the RAF in 1944. He was a married man and was stationed at Beccles, in Suffolk.

On 9th November 1944 the body of Winifred Mary Evans was found in a ditch. Winifred was also in the RAF and the 27 year old radio operator had been raped and strangled. The corporal on duty, at the camp where Winifred was billeted, told the police of a man in uniform who had turned up around midnight the night before. She had told him to return to his own quarters. The corporal did not know the name of the man so the police arranged for her to attend the next pay parade to see if she could pick him out. The duty corporal did as she had been asked and attended pay parade at the men's camp. Even though Heys had lined up with the R's instead of the H's, she still picked him out as the man she had redirected the night before. Heys' statement that he had been back in barracks by 12.30am was contradicted by colleagues who said that he had not returned until after 1am.He had scratches on his hands and, on his overcoat, was a hair of the same type as the victim's.

While in custody he tried to smuggle out an anonymous letter to his Commanding Officer. The letter was meant to be from another person and it stated that an airman (himself) stood wrongly accused of the murder of Winifred Mary Evans. In it were details that only the killer could have known. He was tried at Bury St. Edmunds in January 1945, found guilty and hanged at Norwich prison on 13 March at the age of 37.

Hill, Harold

On 22 November 1941, the bodies of Kathleen Trendle and Doreen Joyce Hearne were found in Penn Wood, in Buckinghamshire. Kathleen Trendle was six years old and Doreen Hearne was eight. The two girls had been missing for three days. The post mortem examination showed the two girls had died from stab wounds. There were signs to suggest that they had both been rendered unconcious by partial strangulation before the stab wounds were inflicted.

The police searched the area and found tyre tracks of a lorry and a patch of oil nearby. They also found Doreen's gas-mask holder and a khaki handkerchief with the laundry mark - RA1019.

A 12-year-old boy said that he had seen the two girls asking the driver of an Army truck for a lift and even gave police the unit identification marks of the truck. Police quickly traced the markings to a unit in Yoxford, Suffolk, and were soon able to find the exact vehicle and sure enough it had a leaking back axle.

The tread on the tyres was matched against the casts taken at the scene and the tyre tracks matched the impressions exactly. The driver of the vehicle was twenty six year old Harold Hill in 341 Battery, 86th Field Regiment Royal Artillery , he had the laundry mark RA-1019 and when his fingerprints were taken they were found to match those on the discarded gas-mask container.

He was tried in March 1942 and pleaded insanity but this was not accepted.. He was found guilty and executed at Oxford Castle on 1 May 1942. It was a strange case in that there did not seem to be an obvious motive. Often when children are murdered the reasons are sexual but the girls had not been molested in that way. Of course it is always possible that he was disturbed before he had chance to finish what he had started.

Manton, Horace William

When some workman saw a sack floating in the River Lea near the Vauxhall factory at Luton they were interested to know what it contained. When they fished the sack out of the water on 19 November 1943 they were shocked and horrified to see it contained the body of a middle aged woman. She was naked and had been strangled and then, it would appear, beaten so severely as to try and hide her identity. Photographs of the woman were shown at local cinemas. Three months later in February 1944 Police were scouring household waste on a local tip in when they found a piece of a woman's coat that had a dry-cleaning mark. The mark was traced to Mrs Caroline Manton who, when they checked they found had handed the coat in for dyeing in the previous November.

When they spoke to Mrs Manton's husband who was a Fire Brigade driver known as 'Bertie', he denied that the photos were of his wife and told police that his wife had left him to live with her brother. To back this up he showed them letters that he said had been written by his wife since the previous December. Officers noticed that in all the letters a simple spelling mistake was evident. It was in the word 'Hampstead' which in all cases had been written as 'Hamstead'. The police asked him for a sample of his handwriting and they noticed that he too mispelt this word.

When the police searched the house they found it had been so thoroughly cleaned that an examination only managed to locate a single fingerprint belonging to its former occupant. This was found on a pickle jar in a cupboard. As the woman had lived in the house for many years they would have expected the house to be covered in her prints so it showed he had tried to remove all sign, but why if she had simply left him.

Satisfied that they had got the right man they arrested and charged him with the murder of his wife. Realising that there was no way out he confessed to killing his wife. He said that they had quarrelled and that he had hit her with a stool. He had wheeled her body to the river on his bicycle and dumped it into the water. He appeared for trial at Bedford Assizes and was found guilty and sentenced to death. The sentence was commuted to life imprisonment and he died in prison three years later.

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  • 1 year later...

QUOTE (steve chilton @ Fri, 15 Oct 2004 13:10:58 +0000)you would have thought that if we shot him, we would know where we buried him wouldnt you ?

Steve,

You're absolutely right, however in the heat of battle so to speak, things don't always work out like that. There are a couple of examples at Gallipoli

Priv Thomas Davis, SAD Gully Beach 02-07-15 is commemorated on the Helles Memorial

Priv J Robins SAD 02-01-16 has what is known as a Special Memorial, indicating that it is thought that he is buried in the particular cemetery, but exactly which grave is not known

I think that Pal TELAW also has a member of the Egyptian Labour Corps who was SAD but who has no known grave

There must be other examples too

However I am very grateful for your comment as it persuaded me to check the details on the CWGC site [see below] and it turns out that the details quoted in Col Young's book are out by a year; it should be 1916 and not 1917

Name: PICK

Initials: J

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Staff Sergeant

Regiment: Army Service Corps

Unit Text: 192nd Coy.

Date of Death: 11/02/1916

Service No: T2/11207

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: I. F. 12.

Cemetery: POPERINGHE NEW MILITARY CEMETERY

Name: MOORE, THOMAS

Initials: T

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Driver

Regiment: Army Service Corps

Unit Text: 4th Coy. 24th Div. Train

Age: 23

Date of Death: 26/02/1916

Service No: TH/040862

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 56

Cemetery: YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL

Regards

Michael D.R.

Thomas William Moore was the brother of my Great Grandmother. Nobody in the family knew about this other than he had been 'shot' a fortnight before his nephew was killed in a bombardment at Ypres and I would appreciate any information anyone might have about him..

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Whilst finding the non-com Australians as part of the In From the Cold Project I found the following:

William Peter Neilsen

Rank: Private

Unit: 41st Battalion

Service: Australian Army

Conflict: 1914-1918

Date of Death: 17 March 1916

Place of Death: Brisbane, Queensland

Cause of Death: Stabbed

Source: AWM145 Roll of Honour cards, 1914-1918 War, Army

He was murdered in Spring Hill. His service records are open at the Australian National Archives.

Cheers Andy.

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Don't know if this will be of any use to you, but this site lists all of those executions carried out in UK Prisons over the centuries, although lists for N & S.Ireland & Scotland are seperate.. However you would have to go through each individual case to determine who were servicemen at the time of execution.

http://www.capitalpunishmentuk.org/contents.html

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Could even apply to the worlds' most infamous killer? The following was written in advance of the book "Jack the Ripper – British Intelligence Agent" being published.

Could Cheltenham Colonel be the real Jack the Ripper? Claude Reignier Conder, a Colonel buried in Cheltenham Cemetery could be one of Britain's most notorious murderers, according to a new book. Crime writer Tom Sleman is convinced Claude Reignier Conder, who lived in Tivoli Road, was Jack the Ripper, who killed five prostitutes in 1888 in London.Mr Sleman believes Conder was born in Cheltenham and is appealing for the colonel's descendants to contact him.

He said: "There are people today in Cheltenham who know Conder and they are not saying anything."One man did get in touch with me who had come into possession of Conder's knives and riding spurs. But I have not heard from him since. Someone in Cheltenham might have something in their attic like an heirloom or belongings of this man." He says the British intelligence officer was a trained assassin who was part of a Whitehall cabal enlisted to kill women because of their links to Irish terrorists.Mr Sleman, 40, and criminologist Keith Andrews say they have discovered cryptic clues that incriminate the Cheltenham man. He has been investigating the Ripper for a decade. It all began with a chalk message scrawled on a wall near the murder scene of one of the victims – Catherine Eddowes.The message said: "The Juwes are the men that will not be blamed for nothing."

Sir Charles Warren, then chief commissioner at the Met and a close friend of Conder, was said to have ordered the crucial clue to be scrubbed out – despite the advice of other detectives. Miss Eddowes also had "symbols" carved into her face which Mr Slemen says are from the ancient Moabite language.He said: "I wondered if there was anything in this message. Before he was chief commissioner, Sir Charles was a renowned archaeologist in the Middle East and his right hand man was Conder." He discovered "Juwe" was from the altaic language, which is studied by archaeologists, and means "two". He said: "They knew this language back to front – no one else would have known what the word or the symbols meant."Both Conder and Warren gained fame as archaeologists by excavating hundreds of sites between 1867 and 1882, including the remains of King Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem. Mr Sleman says the rings from the temple were stolen from Conder's house by prostitute Annie Chapman, who was later killed by Jack the Ripper.He has also since discovered that Frederick Abberline, a superior detective in the Ripper case, lived next door to Conder's brother Francois.Mr Sleman believes drawings by Conder depicting wombs – the organ that most fascinated the Ripper – also point to the same man.

Conder was never a suspect at the time of the killings but Mr Sleman says Sir Charles Warren was involved in covering up the murderer's true identity for his friend. He said Warren suddenly decided to retire, on the eve of the last murder.He claims Warren, who went to school in Cheltenham, knew his friend was the killer but took the secret to his grave in 1927."I think Conder could not get in contact with him directly so was leaving these messages like the one on the wall in a language only they knew," he said.

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Trevor

Did you refer back to Post #47?

Posted 15 October 2004 - 11:56 AM

From Michael Young’s history of the ‘ASC 1902-1918’

ASC Co. 194

WF, 24th Division, Train (HQ) Company (HT)

Pte. T. Moore ASC was shot by firing squad on 26 February 1917 *

for the murder (by shooting) of Farrier S Sgt. James Pick.

Moore’s name is on the Menin Gate in Ypres

And Pick is buried in Poperinge New Cemetery.

WO 95 2203

Regards

Michael D.R.

* This should read 1916 (not 1917) see my post below

This post has been edited by michaeldr: 16 October 2004

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The History of Gresham's School, Holt, Norfolk by Steve Benson reveals that Robert Erskine Childers (author of 'The Riddle in the Sands', a novel including a plot warning of the dangers of invasion by Germany) earned a Distinguished Service Cross flying with the RNAS before becoming a Major in the RAF. He later became involved with Sinn Fein and was elected to the Dail. In 1922 he was arrested for unlawful possession of a firearm, a Colt revolver given to him by Michael Collins (which was a capital offence) and he was subsequently executed by firing squad. His son, Erskine Hamilton Childers had been sent to Gresham's but was prevented by his parents from joining the OTC. He was allowed home to be present at the trial. Many parents campaigned for Erskine to be removed from the school as during the previous two years at least three former Gresham's pupils had been murdered by the IRA including David Rutherford and Richard Warren who had both received the MC and Bar before they were twenty-one. Eventually he was asked to leave, and his brother Robert was prevented from being sent there. In 1973, Erskine Childers was elected President of Ireland. 'When Heroes Die' is an excellent book about the many Gresham's pupils killed in the War and it is possible to imagine the emotions of those who considered that the son of a man associated with 'murder' sent his son to the same school as some of the 'victims'.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Whilst finding the non-com Australians as part of the In From the Cold Project I found the following:

William Peter Neilsen

Rank: Private

Unit: 41st Battalion

Service: Australian Army

Conflict: 1914-1918

Date of Death: 17 March 1916

Place of Death: Brisbane, Queensland

Cause of Death: Stabbed

Source: AWM145 Roll of Honour cards, 1914-1918 War, Army

He was murdered in Spring Hill. His service records are open at the Australian National Archives.

Cheers Andy.

Murder file is at Queensland Archives.

http://www.archivessearch.qld.gov.au/Search/ItemDetails.aspx?ItemId=665993

Rgds

Tim D

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  • 2 years later...

read somewhere that Captain john Lauder( son of sir Harry Lauder)1/8th Argyll&Sutherland Highlanders was murdered by his own men.28/12/1916.Buried ovillers military cemetery.Not sure if true or not.

http://www.firstfoot.com/Great%20Scot/lauder.htm

Its here!

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Here is an extract from William Murray, Argylls veteran from the book:

“VOICES FROM WAR: Personal recollections of war in our century by Scottish men and women”.

“Lieutenant Lauder, Harry Lauder’s son, he was in the Argylls, too.

Oh he wis a ******. He wis very unpopular. Ah mean, he used tae wear a raincoat and ye didnae know if he was an officer or no. Ah think he did that deliberately. And ye maybe passed him and didnae salute and he would grab you. Ye would get a fortnight’s detention for no’ salutin’ an officer. Oh, he was very unpopular. He was shot in the back a’ right.

He had no confidence in his men at all. Ah mean, he jist treated them as outcasts. Ah don’t know whether he was class conscious or not. Ah didnae see why he should have been, because his faither wis only a comedian.

We were going over the top and he was shot in the back. It wis somebody in his own unit. I never had any dealings wi’ him but the men all knew he had been shot in the back, oh aye, they all knew. Well, if anybody is shot in the back it was deliberate.”

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Here is an extract from William Murray, Argylls veteran from the book:

“VOICES FROM WAR: Personal recollections of war in our century by Scottish men and women”.

“Lieutenant Lauder, Harry Lauder’s son, he was in the Argylls, too.

Oh he wis a ******. He wis very unpopular. Ah mean, he used tae wear a raincoat and ye didnae know if he was an officer or no. Ah think he did that deliberately. And ye maybe passed him and didnae salute and he would grab you. Ye would get a fortnight’s detention for no’ salutin’ an officer. Oh, he was very unpopular. He was shot in the back a’ right.

He had no confidence in his men at all. Ah mean, he jist treated them as outcasts. Ah don’t know whether he was class conscious or not. Ah didnae see why he should have been, because his faither wis only a comedian.

We were going over the top and he was shot in the back. It wis somebody in his own unit. I never had any dealings wi’ him but the men all knew he had been shot in the back, oh aye, they all knew. Well, if anybody is shot in the back it was deliberate.”

That is a fascinating one! I wonder whether those reports made it back to his famous father?!

I have read similar reports in another book from veterans allegedly meating out their own form of justice to superiors in similar conditions. I also doubt in these cases of carrying out their own form of justice due to unpopularity, whether they would be falling over each other to report the incident. The book sounds very interesting though...

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  • 3 years later...

4868 James Edward Devine, 1st Tunneling Coy, AIF, met a teenage prostitute Matilda Twiss, and married her in Camberwell in 1917. 

 

Service papers - http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=3503206

 

She followed him back to Australia on a bride ship in 1919. He became a a convicted thief, a pimp, drug dealer and multiple murderer, while she became one of the wealthiest women in Sydney by building up a prostitution empire.at the head of a violent criminal organisation.

 

800px-Tilly_Devine_1925.jpg

 

 

James_Devine_1939.jpg

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tilly_Devine

 

http://allday.com/post/9954-brothel-madams-to-crime-moguls-these-women-terrorized-sydney-with-their-fierce-gang-rivalry/

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