British Executions

Henry Longden

Age: 52

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 8 Jul 1913

Crime Location: Taviton Street, Gordon Square, London

Execution Place: Pentonville

Method: hanging

Executioner: John Ellis

Source: http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/

Henry Longden was convicted of the murder of his girlfriend Alice Catlow More 27 and sentenced to death.

He cut her throat at Taviton Street, Gordon Square, London on 10 April 1913.

Henry Longden was a butcher and had a bad record of some 32 convictions, mostly for drunkenness and assault etc. When he had been living in Leeds he had been known as Mad Harry or Mad Butcher on account of his drinking and violence.

He had married but his wife had left him some years earlier and for the last 5 or 6 years he had lived with Alice More who was a single woman. They had had a child together, but the child had died.

In Autumn 1912 they moved to London and Henry Longden got employment as a butcher's assistant whilst Alice More got employment as a typist and clerk at a firm of merchants in Oxford Street that dealt in oriental goods.

The Coroner's depositions and police reports noted that Henry Longden frequently illtreated Alice More and that she had gone in terror of him long before she met another man for whom she ultimately left Henry Longden.

On the night of 17 March 1913, Henry Longden and Alice More were heard quarrelling and the next day Alice More took her things and went off in a taxi-cab to a hotel in Endsleigh Gardens where her new partner was staying and where a room had been engaged for her by telephone during the day, 17 March.

Her new partner was a customer of the firm that Alice More. He denied that he had been intimate with Alice More, and the police report noted that her physical condition, chronic inflammation of the uterus and fallopian tubes, rendered that claim not improbable. However, he said that he paid for her board and lodging and took her out dining etc.

However, Henry Longden later discovered where Alice More was staying amd called at the hotel and saw her. He also spoke to her when she was in the street with her new partner.

Later, on 7 April 1913, Henry Longden told a man that he meant to 'do in' Alice More and that he was carrying a knife for that purpose. The man however, told the police what Henry Longden had told him and Henry Longden was arrested for being drunk and fined the next day, but no knife was found on him.

Then, on 10 April 1913, Henry Longden met Alice More in Taviton Street near the hotel and cut her throat with a butcher's knife. She was then taken down into a basement kitchen by some servants that came to her aid.

Henry Longden tried to follow her down into the kitchen, but when he tried the handle of the door he found it was locked and then cut his own throat. The police report noted that it was unclear whether Henry Longden had cut his throat before or after he had gone down the steps to the basement and tried the door handle.

After the murder, the police found a note on Henry Longden from Alice More postmarked 8 April 1913 that read, 'Dear Harry, Sorry: will explain today : will be at Walham Green at 1.15 : will make up for it later : Love, Alice. XXXX'. The police noted that note appeared to indicate at any rate that Alice More wished to give Henry Longden the impression that she had not left him forever.

The jury convicted Henry Longden of murder and he was sentenced to death, but with a recommendation to mercy on the grounds of provocation. However, the police report noted that the jury had heard no evidence of Henry Longden's character or of his ill-treatment of Alice More and stated that little or no weight should be attached to their recommendation. The police report stated, ‘This woman had every right to free herself from a man of the prisoner's habits who persistently ill-treated her'.

see National Archives - HO 144/1272/238923