British Executions

George Brain

Age: 27

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 1 Nov 1938

Crime Location:

Execution Place: Wandsworth

Method: hanging

Executioner: Thomas Pierrepoint


George Brain murdered Rose Muriel Atkins 30, a prostitute who he beat over the head with a starting handle, stabbed and ran over in his van.

After killing her he robbed his employers firm stealing £32 and went to the Isle of Sheppey where he lived rough on the cliffs

He had left Rose Atkins body in the road to make it look like she had been run over. From the tyre tracks found on her body the police determined that the vehicle that ran over her was a etither a Morris Minor or an Austin Seven and a witness had said they had seen a green van. However, they had little else to go on.

A few days later however George Brians employer G Hart and Co, a firm of shoe repairers reported the theft of the £32 to the police noting that he had vanished from his home. When the police heard that he was a van driver and drove a green van they decided to search the van and premises and found Rose Atkins purse and a blood stained knife.

After they started a full scale search and followed up on a report of a man sleeping rough on the cliifs on the Isle of Sheppey and arrested him 9 days after the murder.

In court he said that Rose Atkins had tried to blackmail him and had made him angry causing him to hit her after which he blacked out but the police suggested that he robbed her and when he only got 4 shillings from the murder he decided to rob his employer.

see Murder Guide To London - Martin Fido

see The Encyclopedia of Executions - John Eddleston

see National Archives MEPO 3/1734

see Murderpedia