British Executions

James Cranwell

Age: 59

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 4 Jan 1875

Crime Location:

Execution Place: Newgate

Method: hanging

Executioner: William Marwood


Fifty nine year old James Cranwell was a shoemaker who rented a room in a house on Great James Street, Lisson Grove. On Saturday 17th  October 1874, he invited his girlfriend, Emma Bellamy who was almost half his age at thirty, to his room for tea. Shortly after her arrival she said she felt tired and Cranwell told her to lie down in the bedroom while he prepared the tea. As she dozed, Cranwell crept into the bedroom, locked the door behind him, and struck her several times with a hammer. She pleaded for mercy, but Cranwell said: 'No, you have deceived me,' and proceeded to cut her throat with a large knife. Neighbours had become alarmed at the noise from his room and saw blood stains on him when he walked out of the room, prompting someone to find a policeman. When the officer returned he found Emma at the foot of the stairs; she had staggered from the room and collapsed. Cranwell immediately confessed that he had tried to kill her because he thought she had been unfaithful. Emma was taken to hospital where she died the following week. Cranwell was tried and convicted at the Old Bailey in December and sentenced to death. The sentence was carried out on the 4th January 1875 in Newgate by William Marwood.