British Executions

William Kirwan

Age: 39

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 31 May 1904

Crime Location: Great Newton Street, Pembroke Place, Liverpool

Execution Place: Liverpool

Method: hanging

Executioner: William Billington


William Kirwan murdered his sister-in-law Mary Pike at Great Newton Street, Liverpool on 26 February 1904.

William Kirwan was a sailor and lived with his wife in Richmond Row, Liverpool. Mary Pike was his wife's sister and lived in Great Newton Street. They were all friendly and on good terms and on the day before the murder William Kirwan had invited Mary Pike round to his house which she did and they left on friendly terms.

However, the next day William Kirwan's wife went to see Mary Pike at Great Newton Street. William Kirwan said that she had been there for immoral purposes which his wife denied and he went round and shot both his wife and Mary Pike in the front room firing five shots.

Mary Pike managed to escape and ran into the street crying out for the police and was followed by William Kirwan who fired at her down the street for a trial. A policeman then arrived and William Kirwan told him what had happened and then he pulled out his revolver and shot Mary Pike in her side breaking her rib. She died a few days later from the wound.

William Kirwan then gave himself up and said 'I meant it right well. I intended to kill both of them'.

After he was convicted of her murder whilst in the dock he said 'As I stand in this dock, about to be condemned to death, I repeat my statement in the witness box. I swear that my wife has been unfaithful to me many a time, and that Pike shared the proceeds of her infidelity.' A woman in the back of the court then cried out Oh, no! no! no!'.

When the judge sentenced him he said 'For as surely as you took that woman's life, so will the law take your life'. William Kirwan then shouted 'Goodbye! goodbye all!'.

see National Archives - ASSI 52/97

see Tamworth Herald - Saturday 14 May 1904