Date Of Execution: 27 Mar 1877
Execution Place: Strangeways
Murder of wife; Manchester
There is also reference to him here, where his name is speltJohn M'Kenna.
A Rochdale plasterer convicted of the murder of his wife, in what the prosecution claimed were pure unmitigated brutal circumstances. Annie McKenna was the same age as her husband; they had been married for several years and had two children. They did not have a happy marriage on account of his drunkenness, which often ended in violence against his pretty wife. On 24th February, McKenna and his heavily pregnant wife visited their neighbour, Mrs Higgins. John McKenna sent his wife out on more than one occasion to fetch ale, before they went home in the evening. Later, Annie McKenna returned to Mrs Higgins to seek refuge from her husband's threatening behaviour. McKenna who had become more drunk, went over to the Higgins house and demanded to see his wife. Mrs Higgins, who was quite used to shielding the unfortunate wife, told McKenna to go away and offered to buy him a quart of ale. McKenna refused, pushed his way inside and dragged his wife home by the hair. Fearing for her safety, Mrs Higgins rushed over to the McKenna house and saw through a window that McKenna was beating and kicking his wife. She watched him repeatedly bang her head against the floor before calling for another neighbour, Henry Dunn, to intervene. Dunn and McKenna quarrelled and fought outside the house whilst a mortally wounded Annie McKenna was treated inside. After twenty minutes of trading punches with Dunn, McKenna forced his way back into his house, lifted his wife's head on the pillow and started punching her about the face. She died soon after, by which time McKenna had fled. He was soon located in Liverpool, brought back to Manchester and convicted. Twenty five year old McKenna was hanged by William Marwood in Manchester on the 27th March 1877.