British Executions

Helen Blackwood

Age: unknown

Sex: female

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 11 Aug 1853

Crime Location:

Execution Place: Glasgow

Method: hanging

Executioner: unknown


Hans Smith McFarlane, Helen Blackwood and Ann Marshall were convicted of the murder of Alexander Boyd who they had drugged and stripped along with a friend of his of his clothes and property.

Alexander Boyd and his friend were ships carpenters had gone out drinking and were later lured into a small den in the New Vennel by some loose women. An hour later Alexander Boyd fell out of the window of the room which was on the third floor and died instantly.

When they were lured into the room they were given some whisky which had had some snuff added. They both fell into a stupor and were unconscious after which they stripped them of their clothes and their property, however  Alexander Boyd was a big man and he managed to resist and demanded his property back. However, they managed to push him out of the window to his death and then claimed that he had fallen out by accident.

However, they did not know that that two destitute boys aged 9 and 11 were under the bed in the room which was only 8 feet by 6 feet had seen everything and were key witnesses at their trial. There had also been other witnesses who had heard a commotion and who had peared into the room via a crack in the door.

As soon as Alexander Boyd feel to his death the police were called, however Hans Smith McFarlane, Helen Blackwood and Ann Marshall had fled but they were soon picked up.

They were all sentenced to death, however, Ann Marshall was recommended to mercy. Hans Smith McFarlane and Helen Blackwood were hung at Glasgow on 11 august 1853.

see "Brutal Murder In Glasgow." Times [London, England] 15 June 1853: 8. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 7 June 2013.

see "High Court Of Justiciary (Scotland)." Times [London, England] 23 July 1853: 8. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 7 June 2013.

see The Encyclopedia of Scottish Executions 1750 to 1963 by Alex F Young p119-120.