British Executions

Arthur Harold Victor de Stamir

Age: 23

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 12 Feb 1918

Crime Location: Winkfield Lodge, Park Side, Wimbledon, London

Execution Place: Wandsworth

Method: hanging

Executioner: John Ellis


Arthur Harold Victor de Stamir was convicted of the murder of Edward Kenrick Bunbury Tighe 55 and sentenced to death.

He attacked him during a burglary at Winkfield Lodge, Park Side, Wimbledon, London on 12/13 November 1917 causing injuries from which Edward Tighe died on 17 November 1917.

Arthur Stamrowsky had been a soldier and a burglar.

His real name had been Stamirowski, but his father, a cinema manager, had gone by the name of de Stamir.

In 1908 Arthur de Stamir had been sent to St John's Reformatory School in Walthamstow for housebreaking and was released in 1911 on licence. It was noted that whilst at the reformatory that he never suffered from fits of any description.

In 1912 he absconded with some of his mother's jewellery and went to Australia where it seemed that he served 12 months' imprisonment for theft.

After that he returned to his parents in 1914 but they soon after turned him out because of his intimacy with a married woman with whom he had since cohabited with and who bore him two illegitimate children.

In 1915 he joined the army, but he had a very bad military record. He got one month at Canterbury in March 1917 for stealing tobacco and he deserted his regiment in October 1917.

Edward Tighe, who had been a captain, had lived at Wingfield Lodge by Wimbledon Common. He had gone to bed on the night of 12 November 1917 in good spirits and was found the following morning on the floor unconscious.

Edward Tighe had suffered from asthma. When he was found he was wearing his dressing gown and pyjamas and it was thought that he had probably been sitting in his arm chair when Arthur de Stamir first entered the room. It was thought that the first blow had been the one to the back of his head as he had been sitting and that the other had been inflicted whilst he was standing facing Arthur de Stamir.

He had received eight severe wounds on the head and a blood stained poker, that belonged in the dining room, was found on the floor.

Edward Tighe never recovered consciousness and died on 17 November 1917.

The house had evidently been entered through the study window and two silver watches belonging to Edward Tighe and a mackintosh belonging to the page boy had been stolen.

Edward Tighe was later arrested on another charge and the stolen property was found in a box at his lodgings in Tooting.

After Arthur de Stamir was charged, he made a statement stating that he and another man named Fisher, had entered the house for the purpose of burglary and that when they went into Edward Tighe's bedroom that Edward Tighe made a movement with his hand towards the pillow and that Fisher then hit him several blows on the head with a poker.

It was noted that he repeated his story in great detail at the trial, but that the judge pointed out during his summing up that whether or not Arthur de Stamir killed Edward Tighe or not, he had admitted being present at the time which would make him equally guilty of murder.

When the jury found Arthur de Stamir guilty of murder, they added that they were of the opinion that the murder was carried out by him and that there was no such person as the man Fisher.

Arthur de Stamir appealed on the following grounds:

  1. His state of mind as to which he wished to call his father, his mother, a doctor and a major. However, the judge said that a question of the matter should be dealt with by the Home Secretary rather than by the court.
  2. The judges direction that whether Arthur de Stamir or 'Fisher' killed Edward Tighe that both would be guilty of murder. The appeal judges noted that the passage raised a question of great importance, but stated that it was unnecessary in the circumstances to decide whether it was right or wrong, as the jury had expressed the opinion that there was no other person concerned in the crime but Edward Tighe Arthur de Stamir and that the man 'Fisher' had no existence.

His appeal was dismissed.

The issue of epilepsy was raised by Arthur de Stamir's father, but it was stated that there was nothing but a vague suggestion that Arthur de Stamir had suffered from fits of some kind before he was four years old. Against that there was the positive evidence of the superintendent of the reformatory and from the circumstances of the crime, and the police report stated that it did not appear that the murder could be attributed to an epileptic condition. It was noted that it was true that the unnecessary number of blows pointed to some momentary want of control on Arthur de Stamir's part, but it was stated that that itself did not afford evidence of epilepsy.

It was further noted that at the time of the murder that Arthur de Stamir had been engaged in a series of burglaries in the Wimbledon and Streatham district, namely:

  • 31 October.
  • 12 November (night of the murder).
  • 16 November.
  • 4 December.
  • 5 December.
  • 7 December (two burglaries).

The proceeds of all of the burglaries except one were traced to Arthur de Stamir  and noted that in two of the cases, other than the burglary at Winkfield Lodge, that a poker was found to have been removed by the burglar as if he intended to use it as a weapon.

It was noted that there had been no recommendation to mercy by the jury and the police report to the Home Secretary described it as one of the worst description and saw no reason for interference in the sentence.

Arthur de Stamir was executed at Wandsworth on 12 February 1918 by John Ellis and George Brown.

see National Archives - HO 144/1475/332065, CRIM 1/170/4

see Freeman's Journal - Friday 11 January 1918

see Newcastle Journal - Friday 11 January 1918

see Wikipedia