British Executions

Thomas Wells


Sex: male

Crime: unknown

Date Of Execution: 13 Aug 1868

Crime Location:

Execution Place:

Method: unknown

Executioner: unknown


Edward Walshe was the station master employed by London South Eastern Railways at Dover Priory Station.  On the 1st May 1868 he summoned Thomas Wells into his office.  He was dissatisfied with his behaviour and so he reprimanded him in front of the Area Superintendent who was Henry Cox.  Walshe believed Wells to be disobedient and was unhappy about his continuing poor standard of work.

This was not the first time that Thomas Wells had been given a warning, and he was told that if it happened again he would be sacked. Thomas Wells was a porter and he also did some cleaning.  He could not see a problem and was convinced that the station master enjoyed picking on him. Enough was enough and Wells walked out of the office only to return a few minutes later with a gun that he kept for shooting birds, and which he kept concealed at the station. He entered the office where Walshe and Cox were talking about him and raising the gun so that it was pointing at Walshe he pulled the trigger and shot him through the head.

Seemingly realising what he had done for the first time he ran from the office and attempted to hide in an empty railway carriage.  He was soon found and the police arrested him.

He was brought to trial at Kent Summer Assizes which was held at Maidstone. The defence counsel tried to plead insanity which was apparently the result of an accident he sustained while working at the station when he was almost crushed by a train. This plea was rejected and he was sentenced to death by Mr Justice Wills. The execution was the first to be carried out in private but was in fact witnessed by sixteen journalists who were able to relate to their readers later that day that the execution had not gone all that well and Wells had died struggling on the end of the rope for several minutes.  It was the end of a short life as Wells was only 18 when he died.