British Executions

John Davis

Age: 53

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 1 Jan 1907

Crime Location: 17 Tower Place, Aston Manor

Execution Place: Warwick

Method: hanging

Executioner: John Ellis


John Davis was convicted of the murder of his 47-year-old girlfriend Jane Harrison and was sentenced to death.

He cut her throat at 17 Tower Place, Aston on 17 November 1906.

John Davis was married but separated from his wife and they lived apart. He had been seeing Jane Harrison who was married but whose husband, an inn keeper, had been in Hatton Lunatic Asylum for the previous four years.

On 17 November 1906 he went to her home and in a fit of jealousy, he cut her throat. However, he was seen by neighbours leaving.

John Davis had known Jane Harrison for about seven years having met her when he was a customer at the White Hart pub that her husband had run in Cromwell Street.

About the time that Jane Harrison's husband went into Hatton Lunatic Asylum, John Davis's wife went to see Jane Harrison about her husband’s visits to her and Jane Harrison told her that she couldn't get rid of him. However, sometime later John Davis's wife went to see Jane Harrison to make the same request and shortly after found that he was still going to see Jane Harrison.

On the previous Whitsuntide, Jane Harrison's son saw a letter from John Davis addressed from Garston, which he opened and saw that he was requesting that his mother visit him. He then destroyed the letter and didn't tell her about it.

Then, three weeks before the murder her son heard that a man had been enquiring after his mother but that when he asked her about it he said that she didn't reply. Her son said that he went out of the house on 17 November 1907 at 8.50am leaving her alone in the house sitting in an armchair. At 11.10am he was told that something had happened and then went to the hospital where he found her dead. He was then shown a razor by the police but said that it didn't belong to his house.

The neighbour who lived at 16 Tower Place said that she saw John Davis go to see Jane Harrison two or three weeks earlier. She said that she later saw him there on the Tuesday 13 November 1907 and then again on 17 November 1907.

She said that she saw John Davis go into her house at about 10am and then heard some loud talking about 20 minutes after he had gone in. The woman said that she could not hear what was being said and that she hadn't taken much notice of it. She said then that about 20 minutes later she heard Jane Harrison scream. She said that she ran to her door and then saw Jane Harrison come out of her house with her head hanging to one side and bleeding very badly from the neck. She said that Jane Harrison said, 'What shall I do'. The neighbour said that she then saw John Davis come out of the house and go down the passage to the street. The neighbour said that she followed him and shouted, 'Stop him, he has cut a woman's throat', and that John Davis replied, 'You can fetch the police'. She said that a crowd then gathered and he stopped. The neighbour said that she then ran off to get a doctor and that when she returned John Davis was in the custody of a policeman.

Another woman that lived at 5 Tower Place said that she saw John Davis visit Jane Harrison the day before, 16 November 1907 in the morning and then again at about 10 or 11am the next day, 17 November 1907. She said that she then heard screaming and saw Jane Harrison at her gate covered in blood that was coming from her throat. She said that she then saw John Davis about five yards away going towards the street who she followed and called out, 'Murder', and, 'Stop him'. She said that he was stopped and then later taken away by the police.

At 10.30am a policeman arrived at the scene. He said that when he got to Tower Place there was a crowd there and that John Davis was there being detained. He said that he then took John Davis to 17 Tower Place where he saw Jane Harrison sat in a chair with a bandage around her throat. He said that she had lost a lot of blood. He said that he then asked Jane Harrison what the matter was but said that she didn't reply.  The neighbour then pointed to John Davis and said, 'He had cut her throat'. John Davis then said, 'Yes, it's here', and pointed to the inside pocket of the coat that he was wearing. The policeman said that he then searched John Davis and found a razor in his pocket. He then took John Davis to the police station.

Jane Harrison was taken to the Birmingham General Hospital at 11.15am but died fifteen minutes later at 11.30am. The surgeon said that she had a large wound on the right of her neck which had cut her jugular vein. He said that her organs were otherwise healthy but were bloodless and noted that there was a considerable amount of air in her heart. He said that he thought it impossible that the wound could have been self-inflicted and said that he thought that it had been carried out by someone stood behind her.

John Davis was convicted of murder and executed at Warwick on 1 January 1907.

see Tamworth Herald - Saturday 29 December 1906

see Western Times - Wednesday 02 January 1907

see National Archives - ASSI 13/36