British Executions

Joseph Holden

Age: 57

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 4 Dec 1900

Crime Location: Limefield, Bury, Lancashire

Execution Place: Manchester

Method: hanging

Executioner: James Billington


Joseph Holden was convicted of the murder of his grandson John Dawes 8 and sentenced to death.

He drowned him in a quarry at Limefield, Bury, Lancashire on Wednesday 5 September 1900.

He had gone to collect the boy from his school pretending that his mother required him to go on an errand.

He was later seen with the child on the road to the quarry and said that he first threw him into the quarry and then into the water.

The master of Bury Workhouse said that he looked upon Joseph Holden as being simple minded.

He had been admitted to Bury Workhouse in 1897 for 14 days on a magistrates order for being of unsound mind and had been an ordinary inmate there 6 times later. the question of whether he resented his children for not supporting him was raised but his eldest daughter said that he had never complained about not being supported by them.

He had been living in the workhouse until a week before the murder when he went to live with his daughter and her son John Dawes.

After he went to the police station and said 'I threw the boy down on the rocks, and he went on some soft stuff. I took him by the neck and breaches and threw him down the quarry. I then went down into the quarry and threw him into the water.'

John Dawes was found in 6 feet of water.

On 21 August he had also taken another child to the quarry where he had thrown a rock at him causing him injuries from which he wasn't thought to recover from.

see National Archives - ASSI 52/54

see Lincolnshire Chronicle - Friday 16 November 1900

see Sheffield Evening Telegraph - Thursday 06 September 1900

see Buckingham Advertiser and Free Press - Saturday 08 September 1900

see Murder UK

see Executed Today