British Executions

George Anderson

Age: 59

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 23 Dec 1914

Crime Location: 213 High Street, Waltham Cross

Execution Place: St Albans

Method: hanging

Executioner: John Ellis


George Anderson was convicted of the murder of his stepdaughter Harriett Ann Whybrow 31 and sentenced to death.

He cut her throat at 213 High Street, Waltham Cross on 30 June 1914.

George Anderson was a labourer and in 1912 he and his wife went to live with his wife's daughter, Harriett Whybrow and her husband.

George Anderson's wife later died on 9 June 1914 and George Anderson began to drink heavily and seldom went to work, instead, apparently spending the days drinking with Harriett Whybrow whilst her husband was out.

A neighbour said that on 27 and 29 June 1914, she saw Harriett Whybrow sitting in George Anderson's lap and that on 30 June she saw them lying together on the couch. The police report notes that the neighbour said that she saw nothing actually wrong but stated that if her word was to be believed, that there was no doubt over the relations between the pair.

On the evening of Saturday 27 June 1914, when Harriett Whybrow's husband came home, there was a row during which George Anderson got a chopper and smashed up one of the chairs and then threatened Harriett Whybrow, saying, 'I'll kill the pair of you'.

On 30 June 1914 George Anderson and Harriett Whybrow spent the morning drinking and then later went out together. They were later seen quarrelling on the road about three quarters of a mile from their home by a boy who then saw George Anderson draw out a knife from his pocket, open it behind his back, and then seize Harriett Whybrow by her neck with his left hand and cut her throat.

It was noted that the knife was blunt, and her wound shallow, but that it had opened her jugular vein and that she soon bled to death.

As Harriett Whybrow fell, she was heard to say, 'Now are you satisfied, you have cut my throat'.

A woman that came out of her house to help Harriett Whybrow said that she said, 'You beast see what you have done' to George Anderson as he walked off.

George Anderson then went to a public house where he had more beer until he was arrested.

When George Anderson was arrested, he said, 'She has been aggravating me for some time, I don't care if I hang. Is she dead?'.

At his trial, George Anderson said that he had been drinking heavily and had no recollection of the chopper incident on 27 June 1914 and that whilst on the road Harriett Whybrow had pestered him to let her pawn a suit of his clothes and that he had pulled out a screw of tobacco and had been in the act of cutting it with his knife when he cut her accidentally as he was trying to shake her off before leaving her there. He said that she kept digging him in his ribs with her elbow.

The police report noted that apart from the direct evidence of the boy who saw the murder, that George Anderson's conduct in leaving Harriett Whybrow to die was quite inconsistent with his story. It noted that he had heard the woman call him a beast and that he had then gone off to the pub.

The police report noted that although George Anderson had been drinking, he was not very drunk and that his remarks on arrest showed that he knew well enough what he had done.

George Anderson was found guilty of murder and there was no recommendation to mercy. He made an application to appeal, but his application was refused, and he was executed on Wednesday 23 December 1914.

see National Archives - HO 144/1397/271257