Date Of Execution: 8 Aug 1919
Execution Place: Birmingham
Executioner: John Ellis
Henry Gaskin murdered his wife Elizabeth Gaskin 23 who he strangled and battered in woods on Hednesford Hill on 19 February 1919. Henry Gaskin had fought in the Great War and when he returned he became a miner. They had married in 1913 and she had had a child 2 months later but it wasnt Henry Gaskin's. She also had 2-3 other illegitimate children while he was at war but only one survived.
Henry Gaskin was sent to jail in 1914 but 2 years later he was released so that he could join the army. His wife recieved an army allowance but that was later stopped, possibly because of her character.
Whilst on leave from the war in September 1917 they rowed.
After Henry Gaskin returned from the Great War on 1 february 1918 he and his wife decided to seperate and Elizabeth Gaskin moved out of the house they shared in Bridgtown, Cannock and went t o live with her parents in Hednesford in winter 1918.
On 19 February 1919 Henry Gaskin sent a note to Elizabeth Gaskin asking to see her and she went to meet him. They were seen walking past the colliery at 2.30pm talking louding as though argueing but she was never seen again.
Her parents went to see Henry Gaskin and asked where she was but he said that she didnt turn up. A search was made for her but she wasnt found.
A week later Henry Gaskin broke down and confessed to her murder. He showed the police where her dismembered body was. He had dropped parts of her down the well of a gasholder. He said they had met as planned and they had gone to his home where he asked her to come home with him for good but she refused and asked for a divorce so she could be with her new lover, a soldier that she had been walking with and who was the father of her last child who she had given birth to 2 months earlier. He said he became irate and later strangled her in a wood after which he dragged her 20 yards out of the wood and then carried her 8 yards to a culvert where she was first hidden and the next morning he took her to a place near the gasworks in a wheelbarrow and dismembered her.
Blood was found on his clothes and on his pocket knife.
see Cannock Chase DC
see National Archives - HO 144/1532/385637
see Dundee Courier - Saturday 05 July 1919