British Executions

Percy Lefroy Mapleton


Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 29 Nov 1881

Crime Location:

Execution Place: Lewes

Method: unknown

Executioner: unknown


On 27th June 1881, passengers on the London to Brighton train were suddenly alarmed by the sound of gunshots as the train entered Merstham Tunnel. When the train pulled into Preston Park just outside Brighton, an observant ticket collector noticed that a man getting off the train had bloodstained clothing and a watchchain dangling from his shoe. The man, 22-year-old journalist, Percy Lefroy was questioned and said that he had been in a compartment with three other people and that when the train had entered Merstham Tunnel someone had knocked him unconscious. He said that when he came around the compartment was empty.

The police searched the area near the track and the body of Isaac Frederick Gold, 64-years-old and a retired coin dealer, was found near the entrance to Balcolme Tunnel, he had been stabbed and shot. Frederick Gold had got on the train at London Bridge Station to return to his home in Brighton.

Percy Lefroy was searched and some German coins were found in his pocket that were of the same type that Gold traded in. Lefroy, whose real name was Percy Mapleton, was arrested. He was taken back to his lodgings in Croydon, accompanied by a policeman. He was allowed to enter the house on his own while the officer waited outside. Seeing his chance to escape he promptly vanished out of the back of the house. Not a very bright person Lefroy sent a telegram to his employer requesting his wages. His employer notified the police who were able to trace him from the telegram. They arrested him and he appeared at Maidstone Assizes in November 1881 where he was tried and convicted of murder and sentenced to death. He was hanged on 29th November 1881 by William Marwood after confessing to the crime.