British Executions

Charles Jeremiah Slowe

Age: 28

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 24 Sep 1903

Crime Location: Lord Nelson Pub, 299 Whitechapel Road, London

Execution Place: Pentonville

Method: hanging

Executioner: William Billington


Charles Jeremiah Slowe was convicted of the murder of Mary Jane Hardwick 20 and sentenced to death.

He stabbed her at the Lord Nelson pub on Whitechapel Road, London on Thursday 24 September 1903 with a slaughterman's knife.

He was an occasional customer but Mary Hardwick avoided him and he had been heard to abuse and threaten her.

On 24 September 1903 he waited until closing time and then stabbed her saying, 'I've got you now'.

After he ran off but Mary Hardwick's sister chased him and called out for people to stop him and an man followed him and then called for a policeman to arrest him.

Mary Hardwick's sister said that she had no idea why he had attacked Mary Hardwick adding that Charles Slowe was only an occasional customer and that she had never seen them speaking to each other other than when drinks were being ordered.

Charles Slowe had been a dock labourer.

Mary Hardwick had been from Yeadon in Yorkshire but had no parents living and lived with her sister who ran the Lord Nelson public house.

The niece of the landlady who assisted in the management of the pub said she knew Charles Slowe as a customer and that on 23 September 1903 that she had been in the saloon outside the counter bar at about 10pm and that at about 10.20pm Mary Hardwick, who had been serving behind the bar came over and spoke to her, saying, 'Are you coming in, there is Jerry in the bar?', and that she then went into the bar to serve and saw Charles Slowe who she knew as 'Jerry' and had a little conversation with him.

She noted that there had been an incident in March 1903 but that she had been in hospital when it had happened.

She said that he stopped until close on 11pm when he went out, noting that closing time was 12.30am.

She said that she next saw him a little before midnight when he came into the public bar and she served him with a glass of ale at which point Mary Hardwick had been in the saloon bar and not serving. She said that she then came out of the bar where Mary Hardwick was at about 12.15am and served some other customers in other compartments.

She said that her niece, the landlady, then started serving at 12.15am and that she went and sat in the saloon bar at which time Charles Slowe came into the passage from the bar into the private bar, the compartment next to where she was. She said that she could see him and saw that he had a glass of shandy bitter that the landlady had served him and noted that Charles Slowe would have been able to see both her and Mary Hardwick noting that she knew so as she saw him look into the saloon bar.

She said that after he was served the shandy bitter that he stood drinking it and then went down the passage and out of the house about 12.20am. The landladies niece said that she knew that she was giving the right time as they kept the clocks five minutes fast in the house.

She said that it was then about closing time as she noted a barman preparing to close the house and said that she saw Mary Hardwick get up and go down the passage on the public side. She said that she then went and stood in the private bar and that she then next heard a scream.

She said that she then ran down the passage out of the house and saw the landlady chasing Charles Slowe. She said that she next saw the landlady and Charles Slowe outside the Lord Nelson and next to a shop in the street with the barman following Charles Slowe and then saw Charles Slowe try to strike the barman.

She said that she then ran into the public bar and saw Mary Hardwick on her face on the ground after which a doctor arrived.

She noted that she had been working at the Lord Nelson since Easter April 1902 and that she had seen Charles Slowe come in occasionally and said that Mary Hardwick had not talked to Charles Slowe for six months or more, only as a customer.

The landlady said that Mary Hardwick was her sister and that she worked at the Lord Nelson public house as a barmaid and that she knew Charles Slowe only as a customer.

She said that on Wednesday 23 September 1903 that Charles Slowe had been in the public bar when she went in at about 12.15am at which time Mary Hardwick had been in the saloon bar. She said that she then left and went into the public bar and that Mary Hardwick came in and spoke to her from in front of the counter, noting that by that time they were closing.

She said that Charles was not there when they spoke and said that he then came in and struck Mary Hardwick right and left. She noted that she didn't see anything in his hand and that she then called out to him and then jumped over the counter and ran out after him, leaving Mary Hardwick leaning on the seat.

She said that after chasing Charles Slowe into the street that she went back into the pub two or three minutes later to find Mary Hardwick in a state of collapse, flat on her face on the floor.

She noted that there had been an incident on 11 March 1903 whilst her husband was in hospital and she had been to see him. She said that when she returned to the Lord Nelson that Mary Hardwick told her something and that in consequence she told Charles Slowe, which was in the middle bar, to get outside. She then gave him his hook which she had taken off of him earlier and put in a drawer and told him that he should be ashamed of himself and that they got plenty of trouble without his coming. She said that he then went outside, taking his hook with him.

At the trial the landlady admitted that she might have said 'I know of no other reason for the prisoner stabbing her than that she refused to have anything to do with him' but that she didn't remember saying that. She then noted that Mary Hardwick had earlier had a sweetheart and that Charles Slowe had met him around Easter but that they broke off their relationship around Christmas.

A warehouseman who lived in Fernley Street, Mile End said that he knew Charles Slowe and had been at the Lord Nelson in March 1903 at which time the landlady and Mary Hardwick were behind the bar and Charles Slowe said, 'Give me my f—g hook, or else somebody will have to go through it'. He said that he ought to be ashamed of himself as they had already much trouble in the house and that the landlady then got his hook from a drawer behind the counter, put it on the counter, and that Charles Slowe then picked it up.

He noted that he had known Charles Slowe five or six years and believed that he had worked at a wool warehouse and that the hook would have been used for pulling bales.

The landlady said that people would leave their hooks for their own convenience to avoid carrying them and said that Charles Slowe had said something about not being able to get his hook back as Mary Hardwick didn't know where it was and was looking for it.

A potman at the Lord Nelson said that some months earlier he had been in the bar when he had heard Charles Slowe say to Mary Hardwick, 'I will put her b----light out'.

The barman, who was a tobacco cutter who lived at the Lord Nelson public house and assisted with the management there said that he knew Charles Slowe as a customer. He said that he saw him at about 12.20am when he walked out of the public bar and went down the passage into the private bar. He said that a man was bringing him the gates to close the pub at which time Charles Slowe was stood outside the window of the shop next door. He said that he then saw him turn down the passage towards the private bar and that he then lost sight of him but then heard a scream and that when he turned he saw Charles Slowe leave the public bar and go into the street.

He said that the landlady then called to him, 'Catch him and kill him', and that he went and tried to get Charles Slowe by the throat outside Milward's shop but said that he had been wearing a handkerchief that had slipped and that Charles Slowe then knocked his arm up with his left hand and struck him on the jaw with his right which staggered him a bit after which Charles Slowe ran across the road.

He said that he followed him down East Mount Street and then along Raven Row after which Charles Slowe turned into Cotton Street and then crossed the road and went back into Raven Row again after which he walked into Bedford Street where he turned round to him and said, 'What do you want?. The barman said that he said, 'Never mind what I want' and that he continued to follow him into Oxford Street where he met a policeman and asked him to arrest Charles Slowe.

He said that when he saw the policeman that he said to him, in Charles Slowe's hearing, 'I want this man', and that the policeman asked, 'What for?' and that he said, 'Assault'. He said that Charles Slowe then turned around and said, 'I am going home to my lodgings', but that he said to the policeman, 'Will you bring him back to the Lord Nelson?' at which point the policeman took hold of Charles Slowe and they went back.

He said that when he got back to the Lord Nelson he found Mary Hardwick on the floor in the bar.

The knife that Charles Slowe had used was later identified as belonging to a slaughterer that had lived in Devon's Road, Bow. He said that he was employed by Harrison and Barber in Winthrop Street, Whitechapel and that he had seen Charles Slowe there before when he had come to see his friend who was also employed there. He said that he had been using the knife on 23 September 1903 after which he washed his knife and put it in its pouch and went off to the Grave Maurice public house but that when he got back it was gone. He said that he had gone out between 12 and 12.30pm and that when he had returned at 12.30pm the knife was gone. He noted that he used to leave the knife in a pail of water, stating that they could not hold the knives otherwise.

He said that Charles Slowe had previously assisted him in the yard when he had come to see his friend and said that later that night, 23 September 1903, at about 10pm he had seen him in the Grave Maurice public house and had a drink with him.

A doctor that lived in Whitechapel Road said that he was called to the Lord Nelson public house a minute or two before 12.30am and arrived about 12.40am and found Mary Hardwick lying on the floor in the public bar. He said that when he examined her he found no evidence of life and said that her body was taken away shortly afterwards by the police.

A physician at the London Hospital said that he carried out a post mortem on Mary Hardwick and found that she had two wounds, one which was at the junction of the seventh rib by the breast bone on the right side, it being a horizontal wound about an inch long that had penetrated the flesh, entered the covering of the heart, and gone through the right ventricle into the muscles behind. He said that the second wound was on her left side by about the tenth or eleventh rib which had penetrated through the superficial structures, passed through the spleen, scraped the exterior walls of the stomach, not actually entering it, entered the left kidney, and buried itself in the vertical column.

When he examined the knife said to have been used by Charles Slowe he said that it could have been used to have inflicted the injuries.

He noted that he thought that Mary Hardwick would have only lived for a few seconds after being stabbed.

At the trial Charles Slowe's defence attempted to reduce the charge to manslaughter, stating that there was no evidence of premeditation and suggested that Charles Slowe had been madly in love with Mary Hardwick and had become angered because she had spurned him and he had struck her in a moment of passion.

When Charles Slowe was sentenced to death the judge said, 'May the Lord have mercy on your soul', and Charles Slowe, who was noted for having maintained an indifferent demeanour through out the trial said, 'I shall meet Him without fear'.

Charles Slowe was executed at Pentonville on 23 September 1903.

The Dundee Evening Post on Thursday 1 October 1903 reported on what was described as an 'Epidemic of Crime' saying that September had a terrible record for crime across London and the provinces and suggested that it might be connected to the weather  criminal statistics seemed to show that there was always a rise during depressing weather and noted that year had been the wettest on record. The report noted that there was always an increase in criminal activity directly the late autumn months were entered into. Numbers quoted for murders were 11 and 17 for September and October compared to 8 and 10 for July and August.

see National Archives - HO 144/727/112467

see Old Bailey Online

see Western Times - Thursday 22 October 1903

see Western Times - Saturday 26 September 1903

see Dundee Evening Post - Thursday 01 October 1903

see Edinburgh Evening News - Thursday 24 September 1903

see Lincolnshire Echo - Tuesday 10 November 1903

see Edinburgh Evening News - Thursday 24 September 1903

see Gloucester Citizen - Thursday 24 September 1903

see London Daily News - Friday 25 September 1903

see Penny Illustrated Paper - Saturday 03 October 1903