Date Of Execution: 4 Aug 1908
Crime Location: Strathfield House, Tyne Street, Hull
Execution Place: Hull
Executioner: Henry Pierrepoint
Thomas Siddle was convicted of the murder of his wife Gertrude Siddle 22 and sentenced to death.
He cut her throat at Strathfield House in Tyne Street, Hull on 9 June 1908.
Thomas Siddle was a bricklayer and he and Gertrude Siddle had married three and a half years earlier and they had two children.
On 13 March 1908 Gertrude Siddle got a separation order for 7/6 a week on the grounds of Thomas Siddle's drinking and ill-treatment. However, Thomas Siddle only paid a total of 7/6.
On 11 May 1908 she got a committal order that meant that Thomas Siddle would go to prison for 30 days if he did not pay the arrears within 30 days.
After they separated Gertrude Siddle and her baby went off to live with a woman and then for the five weeks before her death she went to live with a dressmaker at Strathfield House for whom she worked for her board.
On the morning of 9 June 1908 Gertrude Siddle went to the police court after which she went to the dressmaker’s mother's house and then later went back to Strathfield House. They later went back to the dressmaker’s mothers where they had dinner and then went back to Strathfield House at 3.30pm. She then used a telephone belonging to a joiner to call a pork butcher's shop in Worship Street to ask if her husband was working there but was told 'You Tom's just gone'. Gertrude Siddle then started to get the tea ready.
Later that day at about 5pm Thomas Siddle went to see his wife at Strathfield House to say good-bye to Gertrude Siddle as he would be going to gaol the next day. He was said to have been sober although he had had something to drink and to have spoken quite quietly and coherently. The dressmaker answered the door and Thomas Siddle asked her if he could speak to Gertrude Siddle. The dressmaker said that she would have to ask her. She said that Thomas Siddle was stood on the step and didn't appear to be excited. Thomas Siddle was then let into the house and came into the passage. When Thomas Siddle saw Gertrude Siddle he asked if she would take him back after his 30 days and she told him 'No'. He told her that going to gaol would make a man of him but she told him that it would make a man of him if he kept his children. Thomas Siddle then said that he would do when he came out.
Whilst there Thomas Siddle noticed that Gertrude Siddle was wearing a different wedding ring. Gertrude Siddle told him that she had pawned their wedding ring and that the one that she was wearing was one that the dressmaker had given her to wear. It was noted that Gertrude Siddle had pawned their wedding ring and that Thomas Siddle had sold the pawn ticket for 1/6. Thomas Siddle was said to have taxed her about another man buying it for her.
Then their little girl came in and Thomas Siddle took her up and kissed her. He then asked his wife for a kiss but she said 'No, you have had some drink'. The dressmaker said that Gertrude Siddle seemed to be afraid of him. They had been speaking for about 10 to 15 minutes and had not quarrelled.
It then appeared that Thomas Siddle held his hand out saying 'Ta Ta' and Gertrude Siddle turned to run away to the kitchen but tripped over the cocoanut matting at the bend of the corner of the passage and Thomas Siddle attacked her with a razor inflicting two wounds, a slight one under the left ear and a second further forward which severed the main arteries.
Gertrude Siddle was then taken to a chemist’s who dressed her wounds and then Gertrude Siddle was taken to the Infirmary where she died shortly after.
When he was arrested he said 'I'll give myself up for murdering my wife. That’s what I done it with'.
At his trial Thomas Siddle used the defence of manslaughter and said that he had borrowed his father's razor with the intention of getting a shave by a workmate. He said that he had been drinking heavily for 9 or 10 weeks and the Medical Officer reported that on reception to prison Thomas Siddle had been suffering from chronic alcoholism. However, evidence from the dressmaker and policeman that arrested him said that he was sober at the time of the murder.
There was also evidence that soon after their separation Thomas Siddle had threatened his wife saying 'You will not live to live with another man'.
It was said by Gertrude Siddle's friends that she was a respectable girl and that there was nothing to show that Thomas Siddle had any cause to be jealous.
The police report stated that there was a strong motive for the murder in the fact that he was about to go to gaol on Gertrude Siddle's application and that there was no doubt that he had taken the razor to her house with the deliberate intention of killing her.
see National Archives - HO 144/884/167791