British Executions

Myer Abramovitch

Age: 28

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 6 Mar 1912

Crime Location: 62 Hanbury Street, Spitalfields, London

Execution Place: Pentonville

Method: hanging

Executioner: John Ellis


Myer Abramovitch was convicted of the murder of Solomon Milstein 35 and Annie Milstein 37 and sentenced to death.

He battered and stabbed then to death in their bedroom at 62 Hanbury Street, Spitalfields, London on 27 December 1911 and then set their room on fire.

Solomon Milstein and Annie Milstein kept a small restaurant at 62 Hanbury Street, but also ran a gambling hall in the basement in which for some weeks before Christmas Faro had been played there nightly.

However, it was heard that Annie Milstein had wanted to give up the gambling business and it was thought that the couple had probably been being blackmailed by people that were threatening to inform the police.

Myer Abramovitch was a fruit hawker and was a constant visitor at the restaurant where he would sell fruit to the players and punt them when he had money.

The people in the basement dispersed around midnight on 26 December 1911, and it was noted that Myer Abramovitch had been in the basement at some point that night.

At about 2.45am on 27 December 1911 the people that lived above Solomon Milstein and Annie Milstein heard groans coming from the room below them, and then later on a lad discovered that their bedroom at the back of the restaurant was on fire.

The alarm was given and the fire brigade was called out to put out the fire after which the police and firemen found Solomon Milstein and Annie Milstein on the floor of their bedroom half covered with smouldering bed-clothes. The lower parts of their bodies were charred.

It was found that paraffin had been used to start the fire and that Solomon Milstein had been stabbed through the lung, which had killed him, and had other cuts about his head. It was also found that Annie Milstein had been beaten about the head with the fire-irons and cut about the face and slashed across the stomach with a knife.

Two knives were found in the room, one of which was the bread carving knife that was ordinarily used in the house.

There were signs of a violent struggle and blood was spattered about the room.

Following the discovery of the bodies, the police drew up a list of the people that had been involved in gambling in the basement the night before and summoned them to Leman Street Station in turn to make statements accounting for their whereabouts in the early morning of 27 December 1911.

However, after the police enquired at Myer Abramovitch's lodgings, they found that he had not been home at all on the night of 26/27 December 1911.

However, he was later seen at about 1.30pm on 28 December 1911 near Leman Street and he was summoned to the station.

When he was questioned, he at once admitted his guilt and showed the police two watches that he had in his greatcoat pocket that had recently been pawned to Solomon Milstein by hard up card players. It was also later found that the great coat that Myer Abramovitch had been wearing was Solomon Milstein's and that Myer Abramovitch was also wearing one of Solomon Milstein's suits underneath it. The police then found that underneath the suit, Myer Abramovitch was wearing his own clothes that were smothered with bloodstains.

It was also found that his hands were cut as though by grasping the blade of a knife.

Myer Abramovitch's only defence was insanity, but he soon withdrew it after doctors said that there was no evidence for it and several of his acquaintances described him as a quiet respectable man.

It was heard that the motive for the murders was probably because he had lost what money he had had at Faro and had then concealed himself in their bedroom and then attacked them in their sleep.

He was sentenced to death with no recommendation to mercy and his appeal was dismissed.

see National Archives - HO 144/1191/219841