British Executions

Arthur Leslie Raveney

Age: 24

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 14 Aug 1929

Crime Location: Constable Burton, Wensleydale

Execution Place: Leeds

Method: hanging

Executioner: Thomas Pierrepoint


Arthur Raveney murdered Leslie Godfrey White 23 at Constable Burton, near Wensleydale on 14 May 1929. He shot him.

Arthur Raveney had been in the tank corp since 1921 with a good record. However, in early 1929 he was confined to barracks over a minor offence during which he was guarded by Leslie White.

On 14 May 1929 he left the camp and walked off and was reported as being absent without leave. He was later spotted that day on the Great North Road five miles from Catterick and held at Bedale police station until a military escort could arrive.

The military tender left Catterick around 11am and arrived in Bedale around 12.15pm with three men, a driver, a drivers mate and Leslie White as the gaurd. The driver and the mate sat in the front of the tender and Leslie White sat in the back with Arthur Raveney. There was a small window in the cab through which the drivers mate could see Arthur Raveney and Leslie Godfrey.

There was no trouble and they soon set off for Catterick. As they went round a corner about a mile west of Constable Burton there was a bang and the driver pulled over thinking that there was a puncture. At that point Arthur Raveney jumoed out and ran off. The driver and the mate then looked in the back of the tender to see Leslie White wounded and lying on the floor. Before they stopped they heard Leslie White say He shot me'.' As soon as the tender stopped Arthur Raveney jumped out the back and ran off in the direction of Constable Burton. They had the choise of chasing Arthur Raveney or helping Leslie White who was still alive but unconscious and so they drove Leslie White off looking for medical help.

Arthur Raveney was next spotted five miles away near Finghall where he was chased by a policeman first on foot and then on horseback chasing him into woods near Newton-le-Willows. More police were called and Arthur Raveney was soon surrounded in a quarry there and captured.

Upon investigation it was found that there was no easy explanation as to how Arthur Raveney could have had a gun. When he was arrested he was searched and no gun was found and nor were the military escort armed. Later it was discovered that the gun was actually Arthur Raveney's own gun which had been issued to him on 11 May. However, Arthur Raveney said that it had been stolen from him on 12 May and suggested that it was Leslie White trying to get him into trouble. He said that he had left the camp so that if he was arrested he could make formal charges against Leslie White. He said that as they passed Constable Burton Leslie White pulled out the gun and threatened him with it and he pushed the gun and grabbed hold of Leslie White's wrist and there was a struggle and that as the tender went around the curve after Constable Burton the gun went off accidently.

see National Archives - PCOM 9/274, HO 144/11366, ASSI 45/89