British Executions

Betty Eccles

Age: 38

Sex: female

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 6 May 1843

Crime Location:

Execution Place: Liverpool

Method: hanging

Executioner: unknown


Betty Eccles murdered her step-son William Eccles 13 at Bolton on 26 September 1843 who she had piosoned with arsenic.

Betty Eccles had had a number of her children die but no suspision had ever been raised in the past. On the day of William Eccles death Betty Eccles had given him some food which she claimed came fom the same plate that she had eaten and he went off to work, however, at work he became very ill and was sent home. He collapsed halfway and was helped by a paserby who took him to his home and suggested that he give him some tea and Betty Eccles said that she had just got some tea ready but the court heard that that was an unusual time to have tea ready as William Eccles was normally due home at that time. William Eccles died later that night.

the next day Betty Eccles went to William Eccles place of work to ask for a 50s burial allowance that they gave out to employees but the clerk was alarmed as he had seen William Eccles alive and well the day before and he remembered that Betty Eccles had already been in for a burial allownace on the 10 September for the death of one of her own children Alice Haslam. Betty Eccles was a window prior to mattying her current husband and had had several children of her own all of whom were dead.

Betty Eccles was asked that she might want to have the body examined in case there was an infectious disease but she refused saying she had enough to contend with. However, an autopsy was carried out and William Eccles stomach was found to contain a large amount of arsenic, at least 35-40 grains.

Indictments were made aginst Betty Eccles for the wilful murder of two of her other children Alice Haslam and Nancy Haslam whose bodies were dug up and found to contain arsenic too but the charges were not proceeded with.

see Northern Star - Saturday 15 April 1843