British Executions

William Chadwick

Age: unknown

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 15 Apr 1890

Crime Location:

Execution Place: Liverpool

Method: hanging

Executioner: James Berry


On the morning of Monday 22nd July 1889, Walter Davies, a pawnbroker's assistant at Atherton, near Bolton, was cleaning out the cellar when he heard the shop door open. He came upstairs and saw a man stealing watches from behind the counter. The two men began to fight and Davies received a fatal knife wound in the neck and fell down the cellar stairs. The assailant then emptied the victim's pockets, stole his watch and chain, and after taking the contents of a display cabinet, he disappeared. An intensive enquiry eventually produced some of the missing watches, and in October police arrested twenty three year old William Chadwick for another offence. Witnesses identified him as the man who was selling the stolen goods. A search of Chadwick's house resulted in further evidence linking him with the murder and he was charged. He was tried before Mr Justice Matthews at Liverpool Assizes on 22nd March 1890, and after a short trial was sentenced to death. He was hanged by James Berry, on a new type of scaffold which was built on a level floor without steps leading up to it. This design became the blueprint for all future scaffolds. Sentence was carried out on the 15th April 1890 in Liverpool