British Executions

Edward OConnor

Age: 43

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 22 Dec 1921

Crime Location: 7 Sash Street, Stafford

Execution Place: Birmingham

Method: hanging

Executioner: John Ellis


Edward OConnor murdered his 5-year-old son Thomas O'Connor 5 and sentenced to death.

He cut his throat at their home at 7 Sash Street, Stafford on 31 July 1921. He also attacked three other children.

Edward OConnor had been a labourer and had had eight children. He attacked four of them on the morning of 31 July 1921 at about 5am whilst they were asleep and afterwards went to the police station to give himself up.

His wife didn't live with him owning to his conduct and lived with her 15-year-old daughter and their 1-year-old son at her mother's house at 4 Sash Street.

The principle witness in the case was a 12-year-old daughter who said that she had been awakened by a noise in the bedroom and saw her father enter. She said that he then told her to go into the front bedroom and that she then asked him where her mother and her 15-year-old sister where and that he told her they were at granny’s. She said that she then went into the front bedroom and got into bed with another brother and that she then saw Edward OConnor cut Thomas O'Connor's throat after which he cut the throat of another of her sisters. She said that she then saw him go back into the back room where he cut the throats of another brother and sister.

She noted that nothing happened to her or the broth whose bed she had got into.

Edward OConnor then went out and spoke to a police constable in Gaol Square. The police constable said:

Prisoner came up to me, and taking two razors from his pocket, remarked, 'Come on, I will find you a job, for I have done three or four of the kids in with these'.

The police constable said that on the way to the police station that Thomas O'Connor said:

I could not find the missus or the eldest daughter, or I would have done them in.

Edward OConnor later said:

Well, Sergeant, I have dished three or four of the children in. I went to do it across the old woman, but she was out. I didn't care what I did. I didn't exactly go with the intention of having the children, but meant to do the wife in, but found her not there. She was the sole cause of my attacking the children. I lost myself altogether. I warned her that if ever she took me to the police court again unnecessarily there would be serious consequences.

A police inspector said that a separation order had been granted at the borough police court on 25 July 1921 when Edward OConnor appeared in answer to a summons and was ordered to allow his wife 25s a week. He noted that he had known Edward OConnor for 14 years and knew that he and his wife lived uncomfortably together. He added that he believed that Edward OConnor had been fond of his children, except his eldest daughter, the reason being that she clung to her mother.

Edward OConnor was convicted at the Staffordshire Assizes on Wednesday 16 November 1921 and executed at Winson Green Prison on 22 December 1921.

7 Sash Street has since been demolished but was right next to Stafford Prison.

see National Archives - PCOM 8/106, HO 144/1709/424501, ASSI 6/56/5

see National Library of Scotland