Date Of Execution: 2 Apr 1907
Crime Location: 13 Oxford Street, Leamington
Execution Place: Warwick
Executioner: John Ellis
Edwin James Moore was convicted of the murder of his mother Fanny Adelaide Moore 52 and sentenced to death.
He set fire to her at their home in Leamington on 5 December 1906 at about 8pm.
Her dress caught fire and she died in a few minutes from the burns and the shock. At the time, the only people in the house were herself, her son Edwin Moore and her 11-year-old son who witnessed the events.
At around 7.30pm Fanny Moore and three of her sons were in the kitchen having just had supper. Soon after Edwin Moore came in and two of the sons went out, leaving Fanny Moore, Edwin Moore and the 11-year-old son in the kitchen. Edwin Moore had had some beer and was visibly worse for it. He sat down and had his supper in silence and then complained about the smell of some fish which had been put in the oven and was overbaked. He took it out of the oven, threw the plate in the air and kicked it as it fell which sent broken pieces of the plate all over the room. He then said, 'I'll show you what is going to be done in this house', and Fanny Moore replied 'I'll see about this when father come home.'.
Edwin Moore then went towards her and she retreated towards the door and he picked up a lamp off of the table and threw it at her. However, he missed and the lamp broke and the oil splashed about the room. Edwin Moore then lighted a newspaper with the wick that was still burning on the floor and deliberately set fire to Fanny Moore's blouse. She went into the scullery and tried to turn on the water tap herself. The 11-year-old son then ran out screaming and as he did so Edwin Moore threatened 'to give him a box of cold meat'.
When the neighbours came they found Fanny Moore dead, or all but dead in the yard just outside of the scullery door.
It was noted that Edwin Moore had certainly made some attempt to put out the fire and had burned his hands in doing so.
When Edwin Moore was at the Coroner's inquest he said that there had been no quarrel at all. He said that the plate broke when he had taken it out of the oven after noticing the smell and that it had been too hot and he had dropped it. He said that he then told his mother 'I'll sweep the bits up when I come back' and that he went into the yard and that while he was there he heard a noise like the report of a gun and when he went back in he saw his mother in flames. He said that he did his best to put the flames out.
Fanny Moore's 11-year-old son was the key witness, and the question was raised regarding whether his evidence could be accepted as substantially correct. However, there seemed no reason not to accept it and it was noted that there had been no quarrel between the 11-year-old son and Edwin Moore and they had both been to a football match together in the afternoon. It was noted that his story was straightforward and convincing and that he was in no way shaken in cross-examination.
It was also noted that his story was corroborated by other evidence in a variety of details.
First, the police sergeant said that he had found the broken pieces of the plate all about and on opposite sides of the kitchen which was consistent with the 11-year-old son's story and not Edwin Moore's.
Secondly, it was said that the position of the broken pieces of lamp and the situation of the oil splashes on the kitchen door, wall near the door and the wall of the passage opposite the door were perfectly in line with the 11-year-old son's story but inconsistent with Edwin Moore's that it had been an accidental explosion of the lamp whilst it was standing on the centre table.
Thirdly, it was noted that Edwin Moore had blamed his 11-year-old brother at once in his first fright before he had had any time to invent anything. The man that lived opposite, and was the first neighbour on the scene, said that when the 11-year-old boy came running out crying 'murder' he had told him that Edwin Moore was setting his mother on fire.
Fourthly, it was noted that Edwin Moore had said nothing about an accident or given any explanation to any of the neighbours who came in at the time. It was noted that when his brother had asked him if he had done it that Edwin Moore had not answered and had walked away. It was not until an hour and a half later when he was in hospital that he first told his story of it happening while he was out of the room.
Lastly, it was also noted that another brother said that Edwin Moore had thrown a lighted lamp at his mother two years earlier but that it hadn't done any harm.
As such, it was said that it was clear that it was a most atrocious murder, due to drink and ill-temper. It was noted that whilst Edwin Moore was in drink at the time, he was clearly nowhere near incapable and was quite sober enough to have known what he was doing.
see National Archives - HO 144/850/150118, ASSI 13/37