British Executions

John Francis Eayres

Age: 59

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 10 Nov 1914

Crime Location: 4 School Place, Albert Place, Peterborough

Execution Place: Northampton

Method: hanging

Executioner: John Ellis


John Francis Eayres was convicted of the murder of his wife Sarah Ann Eayres 53 and sentenced to death.

He cut her throat at 4 School Place, Albert Place in Peterborough on 22 August 1914.

John Eayres was a tinsmith and had been married to Sarah Eayres for three years. They were both addicted to drink and frequently quarrelled, especially at weekends.

They lived at 4 School Place in Peterborough, which was described as a filthy house.

John Eayres had previously complained to his neighbours that Sarah Eayres had been pawning his things for drink.

At about 5pm on Saturday 22 August 1914 John Eayres and Sarah Eayres were seen struggling on the pavement outside their house, with John Eayres on top of Sarah Eayres. However, she managed to free herself and get away. John Eayres then entered their house and then afterwards left it.

Sarah Eayres returned to the house soon after and went in and locked herself in. She was seen at a window of the house when John Eayres returned and was seen to laugh at him and to put her tongue out. She was also heard calling out to a neighbour saying, 'Don't believe the old liar. I caught him with a woman', to which John Eayres replied, 'All right you b.....r, you'll get all you want before morning'.

John Eayres then fetched a tool from the backyard and forced a side entrance and it was thought that a fight probably ensued inside. John Eayres said that when he went in Sarah Eayres threw a sugar basin at him which was later found broken on the stone floor of the house, although it was not clear whether it had hit John Eayres or not.

A few minutes later Sarah Eayres was seen to run out of the side entrance and go round into the backyard, followed by John Eayres, and it was thought that she had tried to take refuge in the WC.

About an hour later a neighbour heard a moan from the backyard and when they went round to look they found John Eayres lying below the window of the house with a superficial cut to his throat.

Sarah Eayres was then found lying across the threshold of the WC with her throat cut from the right ear to the breastbone with all arteries and muscles having been severed.

She also had two cuts on the fingers of her left hand as though she had tried to protect her throat.

A blood stained razor was found in the scullery and it was thought that John Eayres had cut Sarah Eayres's throat and to have then gone back into the house where he might have made some attempt to remove traces of blood, and then to have finally wounded himself in the throat.

His coat and vest were in the house and when John Eayres was found he was wearing his shirt and had his trousers half off.

When John Eayres was charged, he said, 'I know nothing at all about it', and pleaded not guilty.

When the judge summed up he noted that there was no suggestion that John Eayres was insane and that the only question was whether he was guilty of murder or manslaughter. The judge noted that, 'If a person who had been struck immediately turned and assaulted his assailant in such a way as to cause death, it might be manslaughter, but if a person who had received a blow went in search of a weapon and then pursued and killed his assailant it was murder'.

John Eayres was convicted of murder with no recommendation to mercy.

The police report noted that there was evidence that John Eayres had threatened to do Sarah Eayres in on several occasions and that although Sarah Eayres might have been a drunken and worthless woman, John Eayres didn't appear to be much better. The police report further noted that Sarah Eayres had been trying to escape from John Eayres's violence at the time as he chased her with a razor before he caught her and cut her throat and suggested no interference in the sentence.

John Eayres was executed at Northampton on 10 November 1914.

see Aberdeen Journal - Wednesday 11 November 1914

see National Archives - ASSI 13/44, HO 144/1389/269207