Date Of Execution: 9 Jul 1913
Crime Location: Fountain Inn, Albion Street, Brades, Oldbury
Execution Place: Worcester
Executioner: John Ellis
Thomas Fletcher was convicted of the murder of his girlfriend Lilian Wharton 21 and sentenced to death.
He shot her in the tap room of the Fountain Inn in Albion Street, Brades on 1 April 1913. She was taken to West Bromwich Hospital where she died from peritonitis on 8 April 1913.
After shooting Lilian Wharton he shot himself twice in the head, one bullet destroying his right eye.
Thomas Fletcher was a stamp puller and had been keeping company with Lilian Wharton for about twelve months and they had planned to get married.
The banns had been published by the girl and they had arranged to be married at a Registry Office on the Wednesday, 26 March 1913. However, Lilian Wharton's father, who knew nothing of the marriage, disapproved of the match and when Thomas Fletcher went to the Fountain Inn where Lilian Wharton lived and which was run by her parents, Lilian Wharton's mother intervened and spoke to both of them asking them to postpone the wedding until Thomas Fletcher could make a home for her. Lilian Wharton eventually accepted her mother's advice and refused to go to the registry.
At that time, Thomas Fletcher had been living with and apparently supporting his mother, and it was the intention that after the marriage ceremony that Lilian Wharton should return to her own home.
Thomas Fletcher continued to call and see Lilian Wharton, but there was some coolness between them and Lilian Wharton seemed to become afraid of Thomas Fletcher.
On 28 March 1913, Thomas Fletcher called at the Fountain Inn to see Lilian Wharton and her mother told him that he could see her if he would not threaten her. Thomas Fletcher denied threatening Lilian Wharton, but Lilian Wharton, who overheard the conversation he was having with her mother from upstairs called down and said, 'Yes you said you had something at your house and would wait for me'.
Thomas Fletcher continued to visit the Fountain Inn on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
On the Saturday evening he purchased a revolver and some cartridges for 7/6.
On the Tuesday, 1 April 1913, Thomas Fletcher called at the Fountain Inn at about 10am and was served by Lilian Wharton with a glass of brandy in the tap room. Lilian Wharton then left the bar. However, Thomas Fletcher knocked again, and Lilian Wharton brought him another glass of brandy.
When Thomas Fletcher summoned Lilian Wharton again and asked for a third glass of brandy, she refused to serve him and asked him to leave.
Thomas Fletcher then fired two shots at her, one of which lodged in her abdomen, and she ran out of the tap room.
Thomas Fletcher then shot himself twice in the head, with one of the bullets destroying his right eye.
Lilian Wharton was taken to West Bromwich Hospital where she lingered for a week before dying from her injuries.
Before she died, Lilian Wharton said that Thomas Fletcher had threatened to shoot her two or three months earlier when she had said that she was thinking of ceasing to keep company with him.
He was convicted of her murder and sentenced to death. He appealed, but his appeal was dismissed.
see Grantham Journal - Saturday 12 July 1913
see National Archives - ASSI 6/48/6, HO 144/1273/239171