British Executions

John William Walsh

Age: 35

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 17 Dec 1918

Crime Location: 15 Calder Terrace, Bottomboat, Wakefield

Execution Place: Leeds

Method: hanging

Executioner: Thomas Pierrepoint


John William Walsh was convicted of the murder of his girlfriend Ruth Elizabeth Moore 42 and sentenced to death.

He strangled her at Calder Terrace, Bottomboat, near Wakefield on 11 July 1918.

Ruth Moore had been a married woman. She was found strangled in her bed.

She had been living with a Reservist in 1914 who was later taken prisoner and in 1916 she had been living at Church Lane, Outwood, West Riding with John Walsh and his brother.

About December 1917 the three of them moved to Calder Terrace in Bottomboat, but they began to quarrel constantly and John Walsh's brother left.

By then John Walsh and Ruth Moore were living as man and wife, but the quarrelling continued.

It was noted that their quarrelling had began as far back as October 1915 when they were at Church Lane, with John Walsh having been seen to chase Ruth Moore out of the house and to say, 'I am no bloody jay, I'll bloody well do you in before I've done with you'.

About the beginning of June 1918, Ruth Moore was heard telling John Walsh that he had to go away and the following day John Walsh left.

however, he returned a month later, in spite of the fact that Ruth Moore had written to him saying that she would not have him back.

There was a scene between them and Ruth Moore took refuge in a woman's house and told her that John Walsh had threatened her with a razor.

John Walsh then went away again, but a fortnight later, on 10 July 1918, he was seen in the neighbourhood again by a milkman, who told Ruth Moore that he had seen him.

Ruth Moore was said to have appeared uneasy, although she had said that she had not been frightened.

That night she locked and bolted her door when she retired for the night at 11pm.

The following morning, John Walsh told neighbours that he had 'done her in' and then gave himself up to the police constable.

He had a very slight superficial cut on his throat.

He said, 'I have done that woman in. I strangled her about five o'clock this morning. Its all through the neighbours interfering'.

Ruth Moore was then found lying in bed under the bed clothes in her night dress. There were marks of a hand grip on her throat, but no signs of a struggle, except two indentations on the bed as if John Walsh had knelt across Ruth Moore with one knee on each side.

It was noted that Ruth Moore appeared to have been killed whilst she was asleep.

It was noted that Ruth Moore had been suffering from mitral disease of the heart, which would have rendered the process of strangulation quicker. However, it was noted that on the other hand, the marks on her neck showed that considerable pressure had been used, sufficient to have strangled a healthy person.

It was found that the windows to the house were all secured on the inside, but that a coal cellar grating was open and it was thought that John Walsh had entered the house through that.

There were marks of a man's boots inside, and coal marks were found on John Walsh's clothing and his trousers were torn.

A bloodstained knife with which he had wounded his throat was also found inside the house.

At the trial there was really no defence, however, John Walsh's Counsel suggested that John Walsh had had no idea of murdering Ruth Moore, and had only perhaps intended to wake her up in order to have another row with her.

However, the judge described the murder as deliberate a one as was ever committed.

The police report to the Home Secretary stated that they saw no possible grounds for interference in the sentence and John Walsh was executed at Leeds on 17 December 1918.

see National Archives - HO 144/1505/372642

see Wakefield Express - Saturday 20 July 1918

see West Bridgford Advertiser - Saturday 28 December 1918