British Executions

William Murphy

Age: 49

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 15 Feb 1910

Crime Location: Waltham Avenue, Holyhead

Execution Place: Caernarfon

Method: hanging

Executioner: Henry Pierrepoint


William Murphy was convicted of the murder of his girlfriend Gwen Ellen Jones 36 and sentenced to death.

He cut her throat in a field near Waltham Avenue in Holyhead on 25 December 1909 and then threw her into a drainage ditch.

At the time Gwen Jones had been living in Bethesda in North Wales but was travelling the country as a hawker.

William Murphy was a labourer.

It was heard that William Murphy had been living with Gwen Jones previously but that he had left her although he had since made attempts to renew their friendship although beyond the occasional meeting, the intimacy did not appear to have resumed.

They met up on the Saturday, 25 December 1909 and William Murphy decoyed her away to a lonely spot known as Walthew Avenue where there were only a few residential houses and then attacked her and threw her in the drain.

After killing her he went to Baker Street where he asked a stonemason's labourer to inform the police.

It was heard that his face was smeared with blood as though Gwen Jones had struggled violently with him.

When William Murphy went to the police station on the Saturday night he said, 'I have done it right enough. You can take my word for it', and when the policeman asked him what he had done he said, 'Killed a woman'.

When the police when to the place that he mentioned they found Gwen Jones body in a trench with a large gaping wound in her throat.

It was said that his motive was jealousy.

see National Archives - ASSI 65/18/1, HO 144/1056/188303

see Dundee Evening Telegraph - Tuesday 15 February 1910

see Bolton Evening News - Monday 27 December 1909

see Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Friday 07 January 1910

see Daily Post