British Executions

John Silk

Age: 30

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 29 Dec 1905

Crime Location: 29 Spa Lane, Chesterfield

Execution Place: Derby

Method: hanging

Executioner: Henry Pierrepoint


John Silk was convicted of the murder of his mother Mary Fallon 56 and sentenced to death.

He battered her to death at 29 Spa Lane, Chesterfield on 5 August 1905.

John Silk lived with his mother, who was a cripple, and a lodger at 29 Spa Lane.

Earlier on in the evening John Silk had been in Spa Lane talking to a person and told them, 'There'll be a murder down Spa Lane tonight, and it will be our old girl'.

The lodger returned home at about 10pm and John Silk returned later at 11pm under the influence of drink. When he got home he complained about the light and said he wanted to turn it up and when Mary Fallon prevented him he slapped her and the table fell over and the lamp was extinguished. There was a scuffle in the dark and the lodger heard crockery being smashed and a chair being used in some way that made it creak and crack.

The lodger then heard Mary Fallon call out 'Oh, John, don't'.

The lodger then went off to get a policeman but wasn't able to convince the constable that he met that anything serious was going on and so he went back and when he found the house locked and everything quiet he went to a neighbours where he stayed for the night.

Nothing more was known of what went on until the next day when a newspaper seller called at the address. He found the door unlocked and threw in a newspaper and then saw the body of Mary Fallon lying in a pool of blood.

A constable was then fetched and when he went upstairs he found John Silk in bed with blood on his hands and face. The constable told him that his mother was dead downstairs and asked him if he knew what had happened but he said that he didn't.

In court the man that had spoken to John Silk in Spa Lane earlier that night gave evidence of the threats that he had spoken. Another person who had heard the threats said that he heard John Silk say 'I'll put some ---- out of mess (a military term) tonight. There'll be murder down Spa Lane'. The person said that he told John Silk 'Shut up and have a bit of sense'.

Broken chairs and a crutch thickly speckled in blood were also exhibited.


see National Archives - HO 144/806/134946, ASSI 13/35

see Nottingham Evening Post - Friday 01 September 1905