British Executions

John Ramsbottom

Age: 34

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 12 May 1908

Crime Location: Prince of Wales Pub,45 Abbey Hey Lane, Gorton, Manchester

Execution Place: Manchester

Method: hanging

Executioner: Henry Pierrepoint


John Ramsbottom was convicted of the murder of his brother-in-law James MacCraw 22 and sentenced to death.

He shot him at the Prince of Wales public house, 45 Abbey Hey Lane, Gorton, Manchester on 20 February 1908.

John Ramsbottom had married James MacCraw's sister on 1 October 1907. At first they lived with John Ramsbottom for three weeks but then moved into a house of their own and had a child.

However, John Ramsbottom later told his wife that he had made another woman pregnant which caused trouble between them. On two occasions John Ramsbottom took his wife by the throat and then on 3 February 1908 he took her by the throat again and told her that it would be better if they were both out of the way.

After that his wife took their child and went back to live with her mother in the Prince of Wales beerhouse close by. John Ramsbottom's mother-in-law remonstrated with him but allowed him to have his meals at the beerhouse but he had to sleep at home.

On 8 February 1908 John Ramsbottom asked his wife to return home but she refused although he was then allowed to stay at the Prince of Wales pub which he did until 18 February 1908. On 18 February 1908 John Ramsbottom went out at 5.30am and didn't return until the evening of 20 February 1908.

On 17 February 1908 John Ramsbottom knocked off work at midday on a plea of particular business of his own but because he didn't turn up on 18 February 1908 he was paid off and discharged on 19 February 1908.

On 19 February 1908 he went out and tried to buy a revolver at a pawnshop, and then, after obtaining a gun licence, he bought the revolver the next day, 20 February 1908, at about 4pm and later, at another shop, he bought 25 cartridges.

When he returned to the Prince of Wales beerhouse at 6pm his wife suggested to him that he had spent the two nights with another woman. He gave her a mysterious account of his absence but on the whole seemed quite friendly and rational.

He went up to bed at about 11pm and his wife took him a hot drink at about 12 midnight and upon him pressing her to sleep with him she consented but only on the condition that their child lie between them. Then at about 12.30am John Ramsbottom put his arms over the child and her and his wife said, 'It needs none of that' and then slipped out of bed.

John Ramsbottom then jumped up and shot her as she got back into bed. The bullet passed through the flesh of her breast.

John Ramsbottom's mother-in-law then came running in and John Ramsbottom fired the revolver and hit the waterpipe. Apparently, he had not aimed at her.

His wife then ran off to her sister's house in her nightdress. James MacCraw then came into the room and John Ramsbottom shot him twice in the arm and stomach.

John Ramsbottom then left the beerhouse and went home to his mother's house where he was arrested with the revolver still in his hand.

John Ramsbottom told his mother that he thought that they had got on to him and that he wouldn't stand any more of it. He then told her 'Put the light low, some of the McCraws will be coming down'.

James MacCraw died at a bout 9am after making a dying deposition. John Ramsbottom was present when the deposition was made but said that he didn't remember any of it.

see National Archives - ASSI 52/134, HO 144/1023/164817