British Executions

George Stills

Age: 30

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 13 Dec 1907

Crime Location: 7 Bridgend Road, Pontycymmer

Execution Place: Cardiff

Method: hanging

Executioner: Henry Pierrepoint


George Stills was convicted of the murder of his 70-year-old mother Rachel Hannah Stills and sentenced to death.

He battered her to death at 7 Bridgend Road, Pontycymmer on 10 September 1907.

He had been a haulier and lived at home with his mother, Rachel Stills and his father and brother.

Rachel Stills had been very weak and frail.

She was last seen outside her house at about 11.30am on 10 September 1907. She was sober and had some old bruises on her face.

George Stills had been drinking in the morning with his father and brother at the Haldan Hotel and was later seen to leave at 12.50pm going towards his home. He was described as not being drunk but having seemed to have been drinking. The man that saw him said that he was walking steadily and was more sober then drunk.

Later at about 1.30pm three girls looked through his parlour window and saw George Stills kneeling or stooping over Rachel Stills and doing something to her. The youngest girl, who was not called at the trial on account of her age, and who was the first to look through the window said that she saw George Stills beating his mother’s face with his fists. One of the other girls said that she saw George Stills holding his mother down by her throat.

Shortly after a married woman looked through the window and saw Rachel Stills lying huddled up in a corner but saw no one else in the room. When she then opened the door to the house with another woman she saw George Stills in the passage with his coat off and his sleeves tucked up and his hands covered in blood. George Stills then said to the women, 'Go out or I will give you the same both of you'.

About ten minutes later George Stills carried Rachel Stills out of the house and laid her down on the pavement and then raised her clothes over her head so that, but for her drawers, she was exposed. He then went in and shut the door.

When a policeman arrived and went into the house he found George Stills and his brother in the kitchen. George Stills was sitting in the kitchen wiping blood from his hands and arms. There was blood on his waistcoat, shirt and trousers and a spot on the toe-cap of his left boot.

The brother then said to the policeman, 'I have done nothing', and then George Stills said, 'I have done it, I am the man you want'.

When he was being taken to the police station, he said, 'I only struck her one blow, I did carry her outside for fear of doing her further injury'.

When he was charged with her murder, he said, 'Not guilty'.

On the floor in the parlour there was a pool of blood and smudges of blood on and above the skirting.

Rachel Stills had received terrible injuries, including several deep cuts on her face and inside her cheek.. Her lower jaw was fractured on one side and dislocated on the other and there was slight bruising and laceration of her private parts.

It was said that the injuries were probably caused by kicks and that there would have been many required. There was no evidence of any weapon having been used.

Her cause of death was stated as being due to shock from her injuries, combined with loss of blood. The doctor said that she had literally been beaten to death.

Rachel Stills's husband, who admitted that he himself had been addicted to drink for 50 years, gave her a very bad character saying that she was a violent drunkard who had turned his house into a lion's den.

Other witnesses said that Rachel Stills was in the habit of getting drunk occasionally and the post-mortem showed by way of fatty deposits round her heart and cirrhosis of her liver, that she was addicted to drink.

There was also evidence that Rachel Stills had been put out of the house either drunk or partly drunk either the day before or the week before.

However, he was convicted of her murder and sentenced to death with no recommendation to mercy.

see National Archives - ASSI 72/33/4, HO 144/869/159391

see Western Gazette - Friday 13 December 1907