British Executions

John Stephenson Bainbridge

Age: 24

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 9 May 1935

Crime Location:

Execution Place: Durham

Method: hanging

Executioner: unknown


John Stephenson Bainbridge murdered Edward Frederick Herdman 75 by battering him and cutting his throat at 47 Salisbury Place, Bishop Auckland on 31 December 1934.

John Bainbridge, a soldier,  was friends with the daughter of Edward Herdman. She stated that she and John Bainbridge left her father in the house at 7.55pm noting that the clock was 10 minutes fast. Edward Herdman was supposed to be murdered between 7.50 and 9.50pm. The judge noted that if that were true and the clock were not fast then John Bainbridge was innocent. The case was known as the Ten Minute Alibi.

Edward Herdman was found dead at his home at 47 Salisbury Place about 10pm on New Years Eve with his head battered and his throat cut. Close by was a broken brass poker covered in blood and on his lapel an open penknife. It was Edward Herdman's penknife that he had used for years. The walls, ceiling and furniture was besplattered with blood. The back of his hands were beaten to a pulp indicating that he had used them to protect his head as he was being beaten. On the table, partly underneath his body was a wallet containing £40 which had not been taken.

John Bainbridge met his girlfriend later at the hotel where she worked at 10pm after which they went to a party where they were until the early hours. The girlfriend said that she did not see any blood on his clothes that night.

The pathologist said he found he found blood on the outer cuff of John Bainbridge's shirt as well as on the left sleeve and the front. The pathologist said it was human blood and could not have come from John Bainbridge's pimple on his face. On his overcoat they found human blood on the left sleeve just below the elbow, some on the outside of the right cuff and also some on the inside of the right cuff. there was also blood on his jacket.

The prosecution stated that John Bainbridge had killed Edward Herdman to get money to buy an engagement ring but John Bainbridge denied that there was any need for money in his life. John Bainbridge had used a £5 note to buy some jewellery on New Years Eve after the murder, money which the prosecution said he had stolen but which John Bainbridge said he had borrowed from a woman whose name he could not give.

John Bainbridge maintained his innocence until the end.

The newspapers also reported that John Bainbridge said he had borrowed £5 from a woman but didnt give her name because she was married and that the mysterious woman had sent letters to the John Bainbridge's solisitors supporting his innocence. Also that after the murder John Bainbridge was at a party playing a game called Murder where he played the part of the murderer. The judge also noted that it was remarkable that John Bainbridge didnt call his mother to give evidence in his favour suggesting that perhaps she could not back up his claims.

see National Archives - PCOM 9/295 and HO 144/19819

see The Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Wednesday 02 January 1935

see Dundee Courier - Wednesday 06 February 1935