British Executions

Richard Spencer


Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 8 Jan 1873

Crime Location:

Execution Place: Liverpool

Method: unknown

Executioner: unknown


Spencer was a sixty year old fishmonger who kept a shop in Liverpool. Elizabeth Wharton, many years his junior, lived with him as his wife. In August 1872 the business collapsed and they moved to a house in Everton. On 8th August they went to bed sober after a night out. In the morning she was woken with a sharp blow to the head and cried out: 'Richard, what are you doing?' He told her that he wanted them to die together; she replied saying she wanted no part of his suicide pact, and fled to a neighbour's house. She returned home later to find him nursing a head wound, and without warning he pulled out a gun and shot her. Following her death three days later, Spencer was charged with the murder. He claimed that the shooting was accidental but was found guilty and sentenced to death by Mr Justice Mellor, who added that Spencer had no chance of a reprieve. He was hanged by William Calcraft on the 8th January 1873 in Liverpool.