British Executions

Alfred John Lawrence

Age: 32

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 18 Dec 1912

Crime Location: 6 Bowling Green Terrace, Dover

Execution Place: Maidstone

Method: hanging

Executioner: John Ellis


Alfred John Lawrence was convicted of the murder of his girlfriend Emily Violet Hubbard 47 and sentenced to death.

He cut her throat at 6 Bowling Green Terrace in Dover on 19 August 1912.

Alfred Lawrence was a seaman and had lodged with Emily Hubbard and her husband for the last 11 or 12 years at 6 Bowling Green Terrace and had latterly been intimate with Emily Hubbard.

In May 1912, Alfred Lawrence had been home and had found himself suffering from a sore on his penis. He showed it to Emily Hubbard, who said that it had nothing to do with her. He also showed it to Emily Hubbard's husband and told him that he knew where he had got it.

Shortly after Alfred Lawrence went to sea on a Union Castle liner on which the doctor told him that he was suffering from syphilis and was treated for it throughout the voyage.

He returned to Bowling Green Terrace on 29 July 1912 and on 12 August 1912 he received a notice stating that he had been certified as medically unfit and could not return to his ship. After that he became depressed and started drinking.

Alfred Lawrence said that he taxed Emily Hubbard with having given him the disease, but she denied it.

However, it was noted that at that time Emily Hubbard too was suffering from a rash and that her doctor who examined it on 15 August 1912 said that he thought that it was syphilitic. It was said that Alfred Lawrence had persuaded her to show her rash to the doctor.

A couple of hours before the murder, about 2pm on 19 August 1912, Alfred Lawrence said that he begged Emily Hubbard to go to the infirmary, but she said, 'I don't see why you should trouble as long as my husband don't. You can go to hell'.

They had been in the parlour together and Emily Hubbard had been lying down to rest on the sofa.

Alfred Lawrence then beat her over the head with a coal hammer, hitting her five times. He then cut her throat four times with a sheath knife.

He then went upstairs and cut his own throat, severing his trachea.

When the police arrived, Alfred Lawrence said, 'The husband and doctor are the cause of this, let me die'. He had also left a note that read, 'I have done this for a woman's honour, if you want information ask her husband'.

When he was later in hospital, Alfred Lawrence said, 'I murdered that woman because she should not give to other young men what she has given me. Only a few days previous I stood over her with a knife, but my heart failed me. Her husband is to blame for all of it'. Alfred Lawrence later said to another policeman, 'Just lately her husband has driven her to be a whore. I have had this disease for about three months. That and jealousy is all I have against her'.

Alfred Lawrence also said that on one occasion he had caught Emily Hubbard coming from another lodgers room and Emily Hubbard's daughter said that since they had had another lodger in the house Alfred Lawrence had treated Emily Hubbard less kindly.

Emily Hubbard's post-mortem which was performed by another doctor, showed that she had not been suffering from syphilis. However, it was noted that her usual doctor had told Emily Hubbard that her rash was syphilitic and agreed that Alfred Lawrence was probably aware of that.

The police report noted that it seemed that Alfred Lawrence had contracted the disease elsewhere, but that he was no doubt convinced that he had caught it from Emily Hubbard.

He was convicted with no recommendation to mercy and no comments from the judge. However, it was heard that the only possible grounds for interference with the sentence were due to the condition of his neck. Initially, a medical officer had suggested that his death might not be instantaneous. It was noted that during the hanging, his neck would be broken, and heard that there was a risk of his wound opening up again, but it was said that that was not sufficient ground for not executing the sentence. It was heard that in several cases prisoners with throat injuries had been hanged and their wounds had slightly opened, but that Coroner's jury’s, even when aware of it, paid little attention to it. It was noted that the only real danger was, as with Alfred Lawrence, the muscles had been severed and had only recently healed, that decapitation might possibly result.

However, he was executed at Maidstone Prison on 18 December 1912.

see National Archives - HO 144/1241/231095