Date Of Execution: 10 Mar 1914
Crime Location: 9 Middle Cross Street, Wolverhampton
Execution Place: Stafford
Executioner: John Ellis
Josiah Davies murdered his landlady Martha Hodgkins 54 who he strangled at 9 Middle Cross Street, Wolverhampton on 4 November 1913.
Josiah Davies was a lodger at 9 Middle Cross Street and had been an unemployed ironworker since August 1913 and had little money and had fallen behind with his rent. On 4 November he got up early and made the fire and prepared the breakfasts for the other men that lived in the house before they went off for work which was unusual as he tended to sleep in late because he was unemployed. After they left for work at some point he took Martha Hodgkins who was in bed a cup of tea and strangled her with a silk and stole the money from her purse.
The woman who lived next door heard a cry of 'murder' at around 7am and looked out of her window but saw nothing.
When Martha Hodgkins was first discovered it was assumed that she had been robbed by whoever had brought her the cup of tea. They soon noticed that Josiah Davies who was last paid money, 2/4d on 10 October 1913, was out in the pubs of Walsall spending a fair amount of money, having left the house. He was arrested but there was no proof. However, in prison he confessed.
At his execution John Ellis made a mistake in the drop giving Josiah Davies a drop of seven feet six inches instead of six feet ten inches causing grazing to Josiah Davies's skin for which he was reprimanded.
see National Archives - HO 144/1305/248516, (ASSI 6/49/1 possibly lost in file just titled Davies, assuming it Josiah Davies)
see Evening Telegraph - Wednesday 05 November 1913
see Aberdeen Evening Express - Tuesday 10 March 1914
see History Website - picture of or near Middlecross Street probably much later that 1914 and is just general reference.