Date Of Execution: 12 Nov 1914
Crime Location: Fosse Road Recreation Ground, Leicester
Execution Place: Leicester
Executioner: John Ellis
Arnold Warren was convicted of the murder of his 2-year-old son James Warren and sentenced to death.
He cut his throat at Fosse Road Recreation Ground in Leicester on 10 July 1914.
Arnold Warren was an engineer's turner and had been married for eight years and James Warren was his only child.
Arnold Warren had for some time been betting on horseracing and when he lost he would get excited and assault his wife and on 22 May 1914 he assaulted her. He had a chopper in his hand and threatened to chop off James Warren's head.
His wife summoned him as a result, and he was bound over for six months and agreed to pay her 10/- a week.
However, Arnold Warren had either lost or given up his job.
At the time his wife used to go out to work and would send James Warren to Arnold Warren's mother's house, with an 11-year-old girl fetching him morning and evening.
On Friday 10 July 1914 Arnold Warren met his wife in the street and told her that he was out of work and was having a last 'dabble' and that if his horse lost, he would do himself in. He then showed her a small blue poison bottle. However, she said that he had often made such threats before and took little notice of him.
Later that evening, the 11-year-old girl fetched James Warren from Arnold Warren's mother's house and took him to the Fosse Road Recreation Ground in a push cart.
Arnold Warren met them there as he often did and got rid of the 11-year-old girl by sending her back to his mothers with a note asking for the loan of a saw. When the 11-year-old girl returned, Arnold Warren and James Warren had disappeared, leaving the push cart behind in the park.
Later, at about 8.30pm, Arnold Warren and James Warren were found lying in a field about 600 yards from the recreation ground, James Warren with his throat cut to the bone and Arnold Warren lying unconscious beside him with an empty laudanum bottle in his hand.
When he was found he soon revived and asked, 'Has my wife come?' and when he saw James Warren dead, he said, 'Oh, why didn’t you let me die?'. A razor was found beneath him.
When he was arrested, he said, 'I went out with a firm intention to do it at dinner time. I had made a big bet today on 'Early Hope' running at Haydock Park and if it lost of doing myself in. I heard it had lost and I went to the park (Fosse Road Recreation Ground) and lay down and there saw my boy Jim with a girl. I sent her away with a note as it suddenly struck me that I would do away with the child as well as myself, with the idea of getting my own back with my wife for taking me to Court and losing my job and disgracing me. I went from there across the fields with the firm intention of killing the child and myself. I carried the child there and he played about for about ten minutes then he came to me and I cut him with a razor'.
He was also found to have written a letter to the manager of his last employer, which was still on his body, in which he wrote that he would be 'in a short time from now a murderer and suicide'. The letter was in a sealed and stamped envelope, but it had not been posted.
He was convicted of James Warren's murder but with a recommendation to mercy on account of the crime not being premeditated. However, the judge recalled that Arnold Warren had apparently armed himself with a razor and had carried James Warren 600 yards to the scene of the murder. The police report further noted that it was probable that Arnold Warren had written the letter to his employer that was found on him before he had left his lodgings and that as such he had made up his mind to kill James Warren before and that it was not true that he had made up his mind on the matter for the first time when he had seen him at the Recreation Ground.
The police report stated that Arnold Warren had been fond of James Warren and had treated him kindly and that the motive for the murder appeared to have been prompted by a selfish desire to be revenged on his wife who might have been relieved at his own death but who would have felt the loss of her child.
As such, the police report to the Home Secretary recommended that the law should take its course and Arnold Warren was executed at Leicester on 12 November 1914.
see National Archives - HO 144/1390/269472, ASSI 13/44