British Executions

Arthur Clegg

Age: 42

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 19 Mar 1946

Crime Location: River Thames, London

Execution Place: Wandsworth

Method: hanging

Executioner: Albert Pierrepoint


Arthur Clegg murdered his 11 day old grand-daughter Jill Clegg who he drowned somewhere in London on 30 October 1945.

Arthur Clegg said that he had a 20 year old daughter and about 6 months earlier had noticed signs about her that indicated that she was pregnant. He said that he didn't say anything to her about it at the time but he knew that she was seeing the doctor and had complained of abdominal pains.

He said that about a month before her confinement he asked her about his suspiscions and she confirmed that she was pregnant and had told him that the father was a boy she had met in one of the services. However it was suggested elsewhere that he was in fact the father.

Arthur Clegg said that becuase of her poor health he thought the matter over and thought it best to get his daughter out of trouble without anyone being the wiser adding that his wife had not suspected that she was pregnant. He asked her to see a doctor Kennington Park Road but Jill Clegg said, after visiting the doctor that she could not do anything for her and that the doctor had suggested applying to the hospital.

Jill Clegg attended a pre-natal clinic but was advised that there were no beds available at such short notice. Arthur Clegg said that he left the matter in abeyance whilst he thought of alternatives, however, before he could do anything else Jill Clegg exhibited signs and they took her to Barts Hospital. He took her there by car to the Paget Ward.

Whilst Jill Clegg was in hospital he said he went to see her each day and on 25 october he went to the National Childrens Adoption Association at 71 Knightsbridge, SW and was given a form for adoption but was told that it would be difficult to arrange adoption through that agency because of the scant information about the childs father. He said that he left and was thinking of a lady at the hospital who might be able to adopt the child when he met a woman on the stairs to the association who enquired of him whether she was going the right way for the association. He said that he saw an opportunity and asked if she was looking for a child and that she said yes and so he took her for coffee at Lyons Knightsbridge Cafe.

He said that she expressed an interest in seeing the child but he said that someone else (the lady at the hospital) had already got an option on the adoption but that if she called him the following morning at a call box near the Russell Hotel, Brixton at 8.50am Saturday 27 october he would let her know. He said that when she called he said that they other party had asked for more time to consider and he asked her to call again on the following Monday 29 October. He said that on the Monday the lady at the hospital had still not arrived at a decision and said she would come to a descision on the Monday evening and so Arthur Clegg said that he asked the woman to call him on the Tuesday.

In the meantime he said that he had asked the hospital to discharge his daughter and said that he didn't realise that when they discharged her they would also have to discharge to child.

He went to collect his daughter but said that he couldn't arrive home with his daughter and a baby as that would expose the situation and that the lady at the hospiutal  had not arrived at a decision regarding adoption and so he left the baby at the hopsital and took his daughter home tellign his wife that she had had undergone an abdominal operaton.

He sai that on 31 October the woman called him and they arranged to meet at the Bakers Arms pub in Leytonstone at 6.30pm. He said that accordingly he went to the hospital at 5pm and got he child and wrapped it in a blue shawl and told the lady at the hospital that he was taking the child to a prospective adopter. He said he went by car and found the woman waiting on the corner of Hoes street and Lea Bridge Road and that the woman wanted the baby and that he then drove them as far as the Napier Arms, Woodford where a car would take the woman to her home in Essex. he said he took her to the pub abd the woman got out and went into the pub abd came back out with a friend and they took the child.

He said that he didn't get her address but that she had told him that her husband was in the services and that their child had died and that she wanted a replacement so as not to dissapoint her husband when he returned.

He described the woman as calling herself Mrs Clarke, aged 25-30 and about 5 foot 6 inches.

On 6 November the baby was washed up on the banks of the Thames and still had its wristband on saying 'baby Clegg'.

However, the woman could not be traced and the jury convicted him of murder.

see National Archives - CRIM 1/1755, MEPO 3/2317, DPP 2/1450

see Gloucestershire Echo - Tuesday 19 March 1946