British Executions

Harry Thompson

Age: 55

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 22 Dec 1915

Crime Location: 27 Berry Croft, Honley, Huddersfield

Execution Place: Wakefield

Method: hanging

Executioner: Thomas Pierrepoint


Harry Thompson was convicted of the murder of his girlfriend Alice Kaye 28 and sentenced to death.

He cut her throat at her home at 27 Berry Croft, Honley, near Huddersfield on 6 November 1915 whilst she was in bed. He later gave himself up to a policeman in Ramsden Street, Huddersfield on the Monday night, saying, 'I have done that murder at Honley on Saturday. I did it with a pocketknife. I have known her for two years. I was mad when I did it. I did not know she was dead when I left. I have been allowing her 4s per week for the past two years or thereabouts. She has introduced me to her husband as her brother. I thought she was a single woman. I have some letters at home which she has sent me. I have thrown the knife and door key away'.

However, at his trial he repudiated the confession.

Alice Kaye and Harry Thompson had been seeing each other for about two years.

Alice Kaye was a worsted twister and had lived at 27 Berry Croft in Honley. She was married to a soldier in the Duke of Wellington's (West Riding) Regiment, who was at the time overseas serving on the front at Flanders. However, she had not told Harry Thompson of her marriage and when Harry Thompson had seen her husband, she had told him that he was her brother.

Alice Kaye's husband, who last saw her on 17 June 1915 at Huddersfield Station said that he had no recollection of ever having seen Harry Thompson before.

Harry Thompson, who was a builder’s labourer and a widower and who had lived at 100 Bradley Old Lane in Bradley, Huddersfield, had met Alice Kaye before the war and had later started seeing her and then later started to give her a weekly allowance. However, it was said that during that time he had not known that she was married.

It was also heard that Harry Thompson said that he had taken a house but that he would not have done so if he had known that Alice Kaye was married.

A woman that kept a fried fish shop in Bradfield Road, Huddersfield, said that on the night of Friday 5 November 1915, Harry Thompson had called at her shop appearing depressed. She said that she asked him how he was and said that he told her that he had just found out that his 'young lady'  was a married woman and told her that he would not have bought a house if he had known.

The doctor that examined Alice Kaye's wounds said that he thought that her death would have been almost instantaneous.

When the letters that Alice Kaye had sent to Harry Thompson were read they were found to support Harry Thompson's claim that Alice Kaye was attached to him and included many expressions of love and affection as well as corroborating his statement that he had been allowing her money.

It was also noted at the trial that Alice Kaye had also been receiving an allowance from her husband.

It was noted that the case against Harry Thompson relied almost entirely on his full and detailed confession, but at his trial he repudiated the confession.

He was executed at Wakefield Prison on 22 December 1915 at 9am by Thomas Pierrepoint and his death was reported as having been instantaneous. It was noted that there was no semblance of a crowd  in the vicinity of the gaol apart from a solitary policeman on duty and it was said that other than the usual official notice posted on the gate, that there was nothing to indicate that there was a murderer meeting his fate. It was noted that not even the minute bell tolled on that occasion, owing to the fact that there was another man who was also condemned to death at that time confined at the prison.

see Aberdeen Press and Journal - Thursday 23 December 1915

see The Scotsman - Wednesday 10 November 1915

see Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Wednesday 10 November 1915

see Sheffield Daily Telegraph - Friday 19 November 1915

see Northern Whig - Wednesday 10 November 1915

see Yorkshire Evening Post - Wednesday 22 December 1915