British Executions

Ernest Charles Harding

Age: 42

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 9 Aug 1955

Crime Location: Coleshill, Coventry

Execution Place: Birmingham

Method: hanging

Executioner: Stephen Wade


Ernest Charles Harding  was convicted of the murder of Evelyn Patricia Higgins 10.

He sexually assaulted her, attempted to suffocate her and stabbed her in the throat. After he buried her 8 inches below the ground.

On 8 June 1955 Evelyn Higgins came out of Frederick Bird School and went to a hairdressers shop where she stayed until 5pm. After leving the hairdressers shop she was picked up by Ernest Harding in his car.

After Evelyn Higgins was found to be missing a search was made and two 14 year old girls reported that a man in a black car had tried to pick them up just a few moments before Evelyn Higgins last sighting. They described the car which had also been seen by a cyclists who expanded on the description saying that it was a Standard 9, two door saloon dated 1937 or 1938 and that the number plate was on the extreme oss side instead of the centre, it had been hand painted and had a Union Jack motif on the bonnet.

Later on 11 June Ernest Harding was found attempting to commit suicide by running a hose from his car exhaust into the car.

When he recovered he was questioned about the murder and gave a number of stories starting off by saying that he was at the pictures at the time. He later said that he had had Evelyn Higgins in his car but had no memory of anything until he saw her body. Later he said that he remembered trying to have sex with her and putting his hand over her mouth but continued to state that he could not remember anything else.

After he drove to some Woods near Coleshill and buried her. He took the police to the spot on 12 June where she was discovered 8 inches down.

see National Archives - ASSI 88/112, ASSI 13/330