British Executions

Leonard Holmes

Age: 32

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 28 May 1946

Crime Location: Central Avenue, Walesby

Execution Place: Lincoln

Method: hanging

Executioner: unknown


Leonard Holmes murdered his wife Peggy Agnes Holmes 29 who he battered and strangled at Central Avenue, Walesby on 19 November 1945.

He beat her to death with a hammer head.

He said that they had had an argument that had started over certain nods and winks that had taken place between his wife and two RAF men in the Carpenters Arms pub earlier that evening. However, he said that the whole thing actually went back 2 years during which time he had suspected his wife of associating with other men.

He said that the first thing he had heard about it was of a man from the village visiting his house whilst he was away in the army. He said that he had spoken to his wife about that but on another occassion the wife of a married man in the village came to his house and caused a scene during a Christmas party because her husband was there and took him away after saying some nasty things about his wife Peggy Holmes.

He also said that he had suspiscions about two other men from the village who had also visited his house while he was away to do odd jobs for his wife.

He said that his mother had told him that she didnt like the idea of his brother spending time at his cottage while he was away saying that sometimes he would spend the whole night there. He said that even though his mother had spoken to his wife his brother still came over to him after coming out of the army and he said he had taken his wife to the pictures at Ollerton and also taken her home the loneliest way round by the Breck and stayed all night at his house.

However, he said that he had generally been quite happy with his wife since coming out of the army and had only got on to her on one or two occasions about the condition of the house.

However, he said that after they had got back from the Carpenters Arms on te night of the murder she had started to get the supper ready but he had said 'You neednt get any for me, I dont want any' and when she asked why he said he got on to her about her attitude with the two airmen and had asked her what she had meant by it and said that she had replied 'I dont know hat you mean, I have never seen them before. I was just acknowedging their nod'.

He then said they started a heated argument about the airmen and said that his wife then said 'Well, if it will ease your mind, I have been untrue to you' and then went on to say 'I know ive done wrong, but ive no proof that you havnt at that womans. Admitted shes been a good friend to you and to me by having me at their house'. At that point Leonard Holmes said he lost his temper and picked up the hammer head from the hot box and struck her on the side of her head.

He said she fell to her knees and then rolled over on her back and her last words were 'Its too late now but look after the children'.

He said that she struggled for a few moments and he could see that she was too far gone to do anything and said that he didnt like to see her suffering and so put both his hands round her neck until she stopped breathing, which was only a few seconds.

He said that it was 2.04am. He then covered her with a blanket and took off his clothes and burnt them and had a wash. He said he then had a cup of tea and waited for the kiddies to get up and got them their breakfast in the scullery and got them ready for school. Before they went to school he gave one of his sons an envelope containing 10/- for the bus and told them to go to their grandma's at Boughton after they came out of school.

After he went to draw his wifes allowance and went to see some friends including the woman that his wife had accused him of seeing but he didnt have the courage to tell her. He left Wakefield at 8pm and caught the 10.20pm train back to Retford arriving about 12.10. He said that he had intended to go back to Walesby and divide the groceries up for the various grandparents and then go to Ollerton Police station to give himself up but that as he was making for the WVS Canteen for a drink of tea he was stopped by a policeman.

see National Archives - DPP 2/1451