Date Of Execution: 23 Mar 1869
Execution Place: Durham
Thirty seven year old John Dolan was sentenced to death at Durham Assizes on 27th February, for the murder of Hugh John Ward in Sunderland on 9 December 1868. Dolan and Ward lodged with Dolan's girlfriend, Catherine Keehan, at a house on Union Street, Sunderland. On 8 December, Ward and a friend went out drinking. Dolan had also gone out drinking and returning to the house at 1.40 am he sent Mrs Keehan out for some more beer. Ward later returned home, made some comment to Keehan, and went to his room. While Dolan sat drinking his beer, he suddenly jumped up and attacked the startled woman. She screamed out for Ward to help her as Dolan attempted to drag her into his bedroom. Ward came down and the two men began to fight on the stairs. Mrs Keehan rushed out to fetch the police, who came to the house but left after finding the disturbance had died down. No sooner had they gone than the two men began to fight again and, in fear. Mrs Keehan jumped from a window to seek out the recently departed officers. When they returned they found that Dolan had fatally stabbed Ward with a shoe - maker's knife and he was taken into custody and charged with murder. He was hanged in Durham on the 23rd March 1869.