British Executions

William Frederick Edge

Age: 23

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 27 Dec 1905

Crime Location: 40 Wilson Street, Newcastle-under-Lyme

Execution Place: Stafford

Method: hanging

Executioner: Henry Pierrepoint


William Frederick Edge was convicted of the murder of Francis Walter Evans, aged five months, and sentenced to death.

He cut his throat at 40 Wilson Street, Newcastle-under-Lyme on 28 September 1905.

William Edge murdered Francis Evans after his landlord’s wife refused to have anything more to do with him after he had been involved with her for around three years. He had wanted to kill the landlords wife but didn’t get an opportunity and so returned to the house and snuck in and went to the boys room and cut his throat with a razor nearly decapitating him.

He later gave himself up saying 'Yes, I did it, I did it for spite'.

He arrived at the police station at 2.34pm on the Thursday 28 September 1905 saying that he wanted to give himself up. When he was asked what for he had said, 'I have killed a child'. When asked what he had done it with he said, 'With a razor', which he then produced which to all appearance was covered in blood. He then said that he had done it for spite. When he was later questioned he said that he had had connections with the landlord's wife on and off for the previous two years and that he had wanted to have connections with her that morning but she wouldn't let him and so he thought that he would get his own back. He said that he would have killed her too but he didn't get an opportunity. He then said that it had taken him an hour to kill the child which the policeman said he took to assume meant the time it took him in deciding to kill him.

William Edge said that he had known the landlord’s wife for about three years and had taken a great liking for her. He said that she used to let him out of the shop every night at Fogg Lane after closing it and that they would then have five or six minutes hugging and kissing against the shop door while her husband was getting sticks and coal in for the morning. He said that that carried on for about four or five months.

He said that one day her sister was upstairs whitewashing and they were downstairs kissing in the kitchen and while she was against the pantry door he took advantage of her which she had wanted him to do and that that was the first time that she had misconducted herself with him. He said that she cried a little and said 'Do not let anyone know of it and then we can keep the game up perhaps for twenty years or more'. He said that then in a few minutes he had a connection with her again in the kitchen and that that game went on for weeks. He said that he got a place at the Great Fenton Colliery which was all afternoons and Sunday nights and that every morning he would go to see her either in the kitchen or in the upstairs sitting room.

He said that after that he got permission from her husband to lodge at their house and that he then got a job at the Tramways  from Longton to Victoria Road, Fenton which was all night work and after that was completed he did no work for a long time other than some odd days at the Newcastle Goods Department. Later he said that he got on the Tramways from Stoke to Newcastle and after that got his own trade as a Tailors Presser at Beatty Brothers in Hanley. He said that her husband and another lodger would go out early to work and he would go and get in bed with her and stay there for an hour or so and then clean the house for her.

He said that later the landlord’s wife was going to remove to Elliott Street. He said that when they lived in Elliott Street she would come to his bed in the mornings because the children slept in her room and they would have told tales if they had seen their mother in bed with him.

He said that later, if she refused connections with him then he would refuse to go to work and then it would be all right ten minutes later and she would give way to him and then he would go to work. He said that one morning she had refused him until about 10.30am after which she allowed him to touch her again and then everything was alright.

Shortly after he said they flitted from Elliott Street to John Street and that her husband then told him to go somewhere else which he did so for six weeks. He said that he would wander about at night and then in the morning when the children had gone to school he would go to the house and she would make him breakfast.

Shortly after he said that he got a job as a house decorator and then later went back to lodge with them and for about two months the landlord’s wife would come to his bed each morning. He said then that on 26 July 1904, a Friday morning, she refused to let him touch her and so he refused to go to work and that she then hit him in the face with a floor cloth. He said that he then jumped up and knocked her down and then she bit his thumb and then he got loose of her and then she ran out into the street and said that he had tried to strangle her. He said that after that he wandered about for weeks.

He said that during that period when he was out she would often meet with him and give him a few coppers and packets of cigarettes and sometimes something to eat. He said they would also go to Schools Street and talk together for five or ten minutes and have a kiss or two.

Shortly after he went away for two weeks but could not get any work and that when he returned to Hanley he did not see her again until Friday 26 May 1905 when he had an evening out from the Grand Hotel where he had got a job as a billiard marker. He said that they asked him to stay all night and so he did. He said a few weeks later he left the hotel and went into lodgings in Newcastle and spent most of his time at their house whilst he was out of work. Whilst there he said that he lost all his money on betting on horses and playing cards and then he got a situation in Hanley as a billiard marker again which he did for four weeks.

He said that he came out on Stoke Wakes Sunday to their house and then he and the landlord’s wife arranged to go to the Grand Theatre on the Wednesday night and took the eldest daughter with them which he said they did very nicely. He said that when they came out of the Theatre they walked up to a refreshment room in the High Street and had supper upstairs there and then came back to the Car and rode down to Eururia Station. He said that they then got off the car and walked down to Parkers Terrace and stood talking for a few minutes and that when it was quite lonely they went up the opening and had connections behind the houses. He said that when they got back to the opening they told the daughter that they could not find his sister. They then went back to the Car and then he went back to Hanley.

He said that every time he was out he would go and see her and spend some money and that the last time he was working she came to see him and he lent her 8/- for a suit of black for her husband's brother's funeral. He said that he then lent them both a total of 15/- which he said he thought would do for the first weeks board and lodgings. He said that during the fourth week that he was out of work she told him that he would have to start keeping himself and so on Monday he had no money to buy anything to eat and pledged his trousers for 2/9d with which he bought some meat and tea which kept him until Wednesday but that after that there was no sign of any more money.

He said then that the landlord’s wife refused to have anything to do with him and so he reckoned himself done for. He said that he took his things to his sister's house for safety and then went back for his dinner. He said that he then waited for an opportunity to catch her and finish her off but that he had no chance and that his thoughts then changed and he took the baby instead of waiting for the one he wanted.

After that he said that he ran away to the police station and gave himself up to the Clerk in the office.

He pleaded a defence of insanity at his trial but was convicted at the Stafford Assizes on 8 December 1905.

William Edge was executed at Stafford on Wednesday 27 December 1905.

see National Archives - ASSI 6/40/4

see Shetland Times - Saturday 16 December 1905

see Western Times - Saturday 07 October 1905

see Staffordshire Sentinel - Saturday 30 December 1905