British Executions

William Smedley


Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 21 Dec 1875

Crime Location:

Execution Place: Armley

Method: unknown

Executioner: unknown


Fifty year old Smedley was a Sheffield knife-maker, had been widowed several years earlier but had started living with an Elizabeth Firth as man and wife. At the end of August she told him she no longer wished to share his house on account of his poverty. He had been unable to work due to his failing eyesight. On 31st August they were drinking in a pub together and at the end of the evening he walked her to her new home. When they reached the front door she refused to let him in, sending Smedley into a jealous rage. He drew out his razor, grabbed her by the hair and cut her throat, so severely that he almost severed her head. He then turned away and walked to the local police station where he gave himself up. He was hanged by Thomas Askern on the 21st December 1875 in Leeds.