British Executions

Moses Shrimpton


Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 25 May 1885

Crime Location:

Execution Place: Worcester

Method: unknown

Executioner: unknown


Shrimpton was first sent to prison for poaching in 1848, and from then on was seldom at liberty for more than a few weeks. On the morning of 28th February 1885, a PC Davies stationed at Beoley, a small rural Worcestershire village barely a dozen miles from Birmingham, failed to return to the station after his night beat. When it was learned he had also failed to rendezvous with a sergeant at 4am, a search was organised of the nearby countryside. Later that morning, Davies was found dead in a field, with over forty stab wounds to his upper body. The pool of blood in which the body lay yielded a clear set of footprints. A search of the surrounding area revealed a number of dead chickens which had been poached from a nearby farm. Police knew that most local poachers worked only in the woods and fields, and that only one was known to steal from farm buildings. Moses Shrimpton was down on their records as a notorious thief and hen stealer, and he was made the number one suspect. On 4th March, detectives tracked him down to a squalid Birmingham back street lodging house and after breaking down the door, Shrimpton was taken into custody. A search of his room revealed blood stained clothing, and a knife that fitted the wounds on the dead policeman. But most damning of all was a pair of boots with an identical print to those found at the murder scene. In another room at the lodging house, the policeman's watch and chain was found, the owner of which claimed he had bought it off' Shrimpton. He was tried before Baron Huddlestone at Worcester Assizes on 6th May and although the evidence against him was circumstantial, the jury took only a short time to find him guilty. He was hanged in Worcester on the 25th May 1885 by James Berry. When he calculated the drop he estimated a drop of nine feet would be correct after taking into account the man's weight.  Ordinarily this would have been correct but as Shrimpton was sixty five years old Berry did not allow for the weakness of his neck muscles. When Shrimpton fell through the hatch the force ripped his  head clean from his shoulders.