British Executions

Samuel Yarham

Age: unknown

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 4 Apr 1846

Crime Location: Great Yarmouth

Execution Place: Norwich

Method: hanging

Executioner: unknown


Samuel Yarham was convicted of the murder of Harriet Candler who he was said to have beaten to death with a hammer in her home on 18 November 1844.

Harriet Candler kept a chandler's shop and had recently received a legacy of £150 of which she made no secret of.

Initially four men were arrested in relation to the crime including Samuel Yarham based on circumstantial evidence. However, Samuel Yarham had a room upstairs where he lived as a lodger with his wife who was a servant to an attorney who had the upper part of Harriet Candler’s house, said that he was woken up by a noise in the shop and when he went to investigate that he saw two of the men there and the third standing a short distance away. He said that they offered him some of the spoil and threatened him with vengeance if he betrayed them. He said that when he saw the three men coming out of Harriet Candler's house that they told him that they had killed Harriet Candler and that he then went in to look and then went back to his room. He said he was so scared of the threat that he said nothing of the murder until he was arrested for it.

Samuel Yarham initially stood as a witness in the trial of the three men who were charged with the murder. However Samuel Yarham's testimony was thrown out and the three men were acquitted.

Following the acquittal, based on the information that Samuel Yarham had given as a witness Samuel Yarham was tried for the murder of Harriet Candler. It was said that because Samuel Yarham thought that by being a witness in the trial he would become immune to all prosecution he had revealed facts that made his guilt conclusive.

It was claimed that he had confessed to a woman, saying that he had let the men into Harriet Candler's home and shown them where her money was but that she had come home early and they had knocked her down and run off, taking the money with them and burying it, but that Samuel Yarham had later returned and cut Harriet Candler's throat.

Samuel Yarham was found guilty and hanged. At the foot of his scaffold to witness his execution stood two of the three men that he himself had tried to bring about the same fate with his false testimony.

However, it was later suggested that his conviction was unsafe after it was later re-examined and found that he had been convicted mainly on the word of one woman who said that he had confessed to her and that there were other issues with the case. The other issues included the opinion that the court officials were not properly trained, that the police force, being only eight years in existence at the time had made mistakes and that Samuel Yarham's defence lawyer had not read his case before his trial.

Following his execution a cast was made of Samuel Yarham's head which is kept by the Tolhouse Museum in Yarmouth.

see National Archives - ASSI 36/5

see Yarmouth Museum

see BBC

see Carlisle Journal - Saturday 19 April 1845

see Louth and North Lincolnshire Advertiser - Saturday 03 November 1860