Date Of Execution: 24 Feb 1925
Crime Location: Tetbury, Long Newnton
Execution Place: Shepton Mallet
Executioner: Thomas Pierrepoint
William Bignell murdered his girlfriend Margaret Legg 37 whose throat he cut in a field near Tetbury, Long Newnton on 25 October 1924.
William Bignell had entered the army aged 16 as a drummer boy and saw service abroad. In 1917 when at home he made the aquaintance of Margaret Legg who he believed to be a single woman although she was married.
He lived with her for a fortnight and said that afterwards he believed that he had caught a certain disease from her which necessitated him going into hopsital.
Margaret Legg lived in Florence Street in Swindon where her husband was employed and had one child but didnt seem happy with her home and wrote to William Bignell in affectionate terms and asked him to go and lodge with her and her husband under some pretence and that then she would go awway with him.
On 23 October 1924 William Bignell went to her house where Margaret Legg introduced hi to her neighbour saying that he was the man that she was going to go away with. The following day she told the neighbour that she really loved William Bignell and was leaving her home with him.
They left Swindon and went to Tetbury, about 20 miles away, arriving on the evening of 25 October 1924. They went to a pub for about an hour leaving around 9.55pm. By 10.30pm he had killed her in a foeld about half a mile from the pub.
After he went back to the market place in Tetbury where he met a policeman and asked him to direct him to lodgings for the night. He was given the names of two places but later returned to say that he could take neither. The policeman then asked him where he came from and he said Wootton-under-Edge which was about 10 miles away and the policeman told him to pull himself together and walk there.
William Bignell told the policeman that he was not going to do that for any man and told him that he would have to take him in but the policeman said that he had done nothing for him to be taken in for and so William Bignell told him that he had killed a woman and offered to take him and show him the body.
The policeman then called over two civilians and they all went off to the field where they found Margaret Legg dead under a hedge with her throat cut. The policeman then had the two civilians watching the body and took William Bignell to the police station.
They found that she had had her throat cut with force from behind and had a knotted hankerchief tied around her neck with the knot in the front.
Whilst being taken to Malmesbury Police Station the superintendent warned William Bignell to be careful when getting out of the car or he might fall and William Bignell said 'I shall have a longer drop thna that, and the sooner the better'.
see National Archives - PCOM 8/8