British Executions

William Bull

Age: 21

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 3 Apr 1871

Crime Location:

Execution Place: Bedford

Method: hanging

Executioner: William Calcraft


Brutal murder of an old woman; Bedford

Sally Marshall was a weak old woman, of low intelligence, who lived alone in a cottage at Little Slaughton. The local boys would often tease her by throwing stones at her window and knocking on her door, which would bring her running into the street screaming and swearing as they ran off laughing. On the night of 29th November, William Bull had been out drinking and on leaving the pub he walked home with a friend. As they parted company, Bull told him that he was going to call on Sally and cause a 'to-do'. Next morning a neighbour found the door open, and when he looked inside he found her beaten to death on the floor. Neighbours told police that they had heard screams but as they were used to hearing them, paid no heed. Bull was arrested two days later and traces of blood were found on his clothes. He was convicted at Bedford Assizes, sentenced to death by Mr Justice Campbell, and confessed his guilt before he was hanged by William Calcraft.  The sentence was carried out on the 3rd April 1871 in Bedford.  Bull was just twenty one at the time of his death.