Date Of Execution: 21 Jul 1903
Crime Location: Sileby
Execution Place: Leicester
Executioner: William Billington
Thomas Porter and Thomas Preston were convicted of the murder of William Adiel Wilkinson.
William Wilkinson was a police constable.
Thomas Porter and Thomas Preston had been out poaching for hares on 25 May 1903 but had given up their expedition and were coming home through the churchyard. Thomas Preston said he went on way and that Thomas Porter had gone another when he heard someone say 'Who's there?' and then heard the rapport of a gun. He said that he then re-joined Thomas Porter and they went back to his home.
Thomas Porter said that it wasn't his intention to hurt anyone and he had only fired the gun to scare people away.
In their defence they said that they were drunk at the time.
There had been trouble locally with poachers. At the time William Wilkinson had been standing near the churchyard entrance talking to a butcher when he was shot. when they perceived a movement among the gravestones William Wilkinson called out 'Who's there?' and was then immediately shot in the abdomen.
Suspicion fell on Thomas Porter and Thomas Preston who were described as two shoe operatives. The police went to Thomas Porter's home where they forced an entrance but were confronted by Thomas Porter who had a gun. The police then withdrew and Thomas Porter and Thomas Preston had barricaded themselves in. They threatened the police outside and fired a gun into the air, however, they later gave themselves up at 7am.
see Manchester Evening News - Thursday 16 July 1903
see Western Times - Friday 03 July 1903
see Dundee Evening Post - Tuesday 26 May 1903
see National Archives - ASSI 13/33, HO 144/713/109423