British Executions

Walter Marriott

Age: 24

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 10 Aug 1915

Crime Location: 12 Wortley Street, Barnsley

Execution Place: Wakefield

Method: hanging

Executioner: Thomas Pierrepoint


Walter Marriott was convicted of the murder of his wife Nellie Marriott 23 and sentenced to death.

He stabbed her in the back during a row at 12 Wortley Street, Barnsley on 5 June 1915.

Walter Marriott and Nellie Marriott had married eleven months earlier and since then it appeared that Walter Marriott, who was a bookmaker's tout and involved in taking bets, had done no work.

It was said that since they had married that they had lived unhappily together and there was further evidence that there was prior ill-usage.

It was heard that Walter Marriott drank a lot, especially at the weekends and that Nellie Marriott left him on many occasions and took refuge for the night at her parents' or neighbours' houses. It was also heard that Nellie Marriott also often had bruises or a black eye, but that she had seemed unwilling to complain about it if she could help it.

At the time of her murder she was seven months pregnant.

At about midnight on Saturday 5 June 1915, a scream was heard from 12 Wortley Street and Walter Marriott came out and told neighbours to come out and look. When they went in to 12 Wortley Street they found Nellie Marriott lying dead on her back in a pool of blood.

There was a bread knife on the table and it was later stated that it had been plunged up to the hilt, 7 1⁄2 inches, into Nellie Marriott's shoulder, about four inches below her left ear and that it had penetrated downwards into her lung.

A mineral water bottle was found on the floor.

When a police constable was summoned, Walter Marriott said, 'My poor Nellie. I didn't mean to do that. I could not help it. We had a few words'.

At the trial, Walter Marriott said that he had returned home at about 11.40pm, having had a drink or two, and been sitting on the doorstep with Nellie Marriott on good terms when two women passed and spoke to them which then started a quarrel and that Nellie Marriott then threatened him with a mineral water bottle. He said that she then dropped the bottle and picked up the knife and that he then closed on her and they fell together, and the knife went into her. He said that he never touched the knife, but said that when he saw it sticking out of her that he pulled out it and then bathed her wound and said that she then kissed him.

However, the judge at the trial said that he thought that the infliction of the wound in the manner that Walter Marriott had described was almost impossible. It was noted that it was an ordinary bread knife with a slightly blunted point and said that great force must have been used to drive it home.

Walter Marriott was convicted of murder with no recommendation to mercy and was executed at Wakefield on 10 August 1915.

see National Archives - HO 144/1430/291589