Victorian Hangings

Luigi Buranelli

Boarding-house landlord Joseph Lambert didn’t like his tenants having affairs with each other, even though he was having an affair with one of them himself. So when one tenant, Luigi Buranelli, 31, an Italian tailor, began making love to Mrs. Jane Williamson, who rented the room next to his, Lambert asked them to leave. Buranelli

Richard Bishop

A squabble over money ended in murder in Sydenham, south-east London. It began when Richard Bishop, 21, a petty criminal and shopkeeper, started shouting at another man just before midnight on April 3rd, 1868. A neighbour, Alfred Cartwright, 24, complained about the noise which had woken him up and Bishop punched him. The police were

Frances Kidder

“Some horses came along and frightened us. We panicked, and my little Louisa fell into the river and drowned.” So claimed Mrs. Frances Kidder, 25, explaining the death of her stepdaughter Louisa Kidder-Staple, 12, at Cobb’s Bridge, New Romney, in August 1867. She and Louisa, together with one of her own children, were on their

Richard, Bridget and Honorah Stackpole

The younger members of the Stackpole family were brimming with jealous rage as one of their number, James, approached his 21st birthday. This would be the day when, under the terms of a dead relative’s will, he would come into an allowance of £65 a year, a sum that would make him the richest of

Mary Timney

The last woman to be publicly executed in Scotland screamed for mercy and fainted as she was dragged to the gallows to be hanged outside Dumfries Prison on Tuesday, April 29th, 1862. She was Mary Timney, 27, who beat to death her neighbour Ann Hannah, 40, because, she alleged, Miss Hannah had refused to lend

Thomas Hocker

When James de la Rue, 27, seduced a girl known only as Caroline and made her pregnant, he reckoned without her lover, Thomas Hocker, 21. Vowing vengeance, Hocker sent him a letter, purporting to come from Caroline, suggesting a midnight assignation in Belsize Park, Hampstead. When de la Rue arrived Hocker was waiting for him.

Thomas Wells

After having a preliminary chat with his boss, the area superintendent of the London South Eastern Railways, stationmaster Edward Walshe, 59, in charge of Dover Priory station, called railway porter Thomas Wells into his office. “We are dissatisfied with your behaviour and you must take this as an official warning,” he said. “You are disobedient

Matthew Weekes

Charlotte Dymond was the belle of Bodmin. Buxom and pretty, the 18-year-old milkmaid at Lower Penhale Farm flirted outrageously with all the young men of the village, and they all fell in love with her. One of them, Matthew Weekes, 22, who was a labourer on the same farm, had dreamed of marrying her for

Joseph Le Brun

A murder without a motive is meaningless, as well as intriguing. If there is no motive, the police must be sure they have arrested the right man. So did Joseph Le Brun really kill his sister and wound his brother-in-law at their home in St. Helier, Jersey, on the evening of December 15th, 1874? The

Thomas Williams

“Let me warn you all of the demon drink!” proclaimed Thomas Williams, 29, as he stood on the scaffold outside York Prison on Saturday, August 12th, 1837. The crowd, said to be “disappointingly small,” who had come to watch him hang, made no discernible response. Williams killed a workmate, Thomas Froggart, in a ferocious attack