British Executions

Thomas Seymour

Age: 64

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 9 May 1911

Crime Location: 3 Breckfield Place, Everton, Liverpool

Execution Place: Liverpool

Method: hanging

Executioner: John Ellis


Thomas Seymour was convicted of the murder of his wife Mary Seymour 69 and sentenced to death.

He battered her to death with a hammer at their home at 3 Breckfield Place in Everton, Liverpool on 10 March 1911.

Thomas Seymour was a seaman and married Mary Seymour in 1907 after she had been left a legacy of £80 by her sister. By the time they married they had spent about £30 of it and spent the rest after their marriage by the time Thomas Seymour had to go to sea again.

When they were sober they both appeared to have been decent people. It was said that Mary Seymour was fond of Thomas Seymour and kept the house clean and sometimes denied herself in order to keep Thomas Seymour in good clothes.

Thomas Seymour was said to be respectable when sober and one witness said that he used to do a lot of reading, but when they had money and drank together they would frequently quarrel. It was said that Thomas Seymour was sometimes very violent and used to threaten to do for Mary Seymour as well as her sister, but his threats were not regarded as serious.

However, their quarrelling was so bad that Thomas Seymour's sister and her husband, with whom they had lived for some time, refused to have anything more to do with them.

A woman said that on one occasion before Christmas Thomas Seymour got furious because Mary Seymour could not find him some cheese for his supper, and that he ran and hit Mary Seymour. She said that when Mary Seymour escaped upstairs, Thomas Seymour dragged her down by her hair and injured her ankle badly. However, she said that when Thomas Seymour came to himself he had said that he was very sorry and got the neighbours to come and look after Mary Seymour until she was well again.

He came back from sea on Wednesday 8 March 1911 after a five-week voyage and on the Friday, 10 March 1911 they appeared to have had some beer although there was no evidence of drunkenness or quarrelling.

Mary Seymour was last seen at 4pm on the Friday.

A neighbour heard a thud at about 10pm and about an hour later Thomas Seymour went out and fetched some beer, but nothing more was heard that night.

The following day, 11 March 1911 a friend of Mary Seymour called at their house twice but got no answer to her knocking. When she called a third time at 12.30pm Thomas Seymour opened the door and said, 'If you want to see a dead woman come in'. He then pointed to Mary Seymour's body in the corner of the room and said, 'There she is and I have done it'.

Thomas Seymour then went up to a Police Officer and told him what he had done and showed him the hammer that he had used to kill her. When he was taken to Bridewell he said, 'I would do it again, if I had the chance'.

When the police went into their house they found Mary Seymour dead with the side of her head smashed to a pulp. The medical evidence stated that she had probably died on the Friday night and it was stated that she had been killed by blows with a hammer.

The police report noted that there was nothing unusual in the case other than the fact that Thomas Seymour persisted in pleading guilty.

It stated that at all stages of the case Thomas Seymour had maintained a callous and indifferent attitude and had repeatedly stated that he had committed the murder. He pleaded guilty at the trial and the judge endeavoured to induce him to withdraw his plea but he persistently refused. He also refused to allow himself to be defended. It was heard that the Counsel assigned by the judge who saw him in the Court cells failed to induce him to allow himself to be defended. It was also heard that the only witness called was the Prison Medical Officer, who gave evidence that Thomas Seymour was sane and perfectly fit to plead.

When the judge passed the sentence of death he said, 'I wish you could suppose that there was any atom of remorse which has led you to adopt the course you have taken. I fear it is only a sense of indifference to the horrible crime you have committed'.

It was noted that because Thomas Seymour had pleaded guilty he could not appeal and that the case from then rested entirely in the hands of the Secretary of State.

The police report noted that cases of persons pleading guilty of murder were always dealt with on their merits and said that of ten cases noted, there were eight in which the capital sentence was carried out.

The police report noted that there appeared to be no mitigating circumstances that would affect the Secretary of State’s decision, such as evidence of drunkenness that would excuse the crime, nor any evidence of provocation. It was then further noted that it was clear from Thomas Seymour's subsequent conduct that the murder was committed in a sudden urge or passing impulse. The police report concluded that the police could see no reason to to suggest in any interference with the law following its course.

Thomas Seymour was executed on 9 May 1911 in Liverpool Prison.

see National Archives - HO 144/1136/207496