British Executions

George William Hibbs

Age: 40

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 13 Aug 1902

Crime Location: 3 Barmore Street, York Road, Battersea, London

Execution Place: Wandsworth

Method: hanging

Executioner: William Billington


George William Hibbs was convicted of the murder of Miriam Jane Tye 57 and sentenced to death.

He was one of her lodgers and stabbed her in the stomach on 28 June 1902 at her house on Barmore Street, Battersea, London. She was taken to hospital where she later died on 30 June.

He had stabbed at her on an earlier occasion, 1 June 1902, but had only cut her clothes and she had forgiven him. George Hibbs had lodged with Miriam Tye for between two and three years and was described as a man of morose disposition.

On 28 June 1902 he had asked her for a clean shirt but she had refused saying that he would only pawn it to buy drink. Later she was heard to scream, and was found on the floor stabbed in the stomach. When she was attended to she was still alive and said that it had been George Hibbs that had stabbed her.

However, he denied it and at his trial he said that he had no recollection of what happened.

Miriam Tye was twice married, first to a labourer who died in 1885 and next to a shoemaker who and been an army pensioner and ho had died in 1900 since which time she had obtained her livelihood by charing and washing and taking in single men lodgers. She was said to have born an excellent character for industry, honesty and integrity and was spoken of as a motherly woman in her conduct towards her lodgers.

George Hibbs was the son of a butler who died in 1887. His mother died in 1901. They were described as being both highly respectable and to have had many friends.

George Hibbs had been taught shoemaking in his youth and for some time had followed that calling, but had become addicted to drink and a source of trouble for his widowed mother. He had worked at a bakery and as a labourer but was said to have frequently fallen into disgrace through drink and had been for a time an inmate of a Salvation Army Shelter.

On 24 February 1998 he had obtained employment as a labourer at a Sugar Factory and except for three months had followed that work since, but was noted for having frequently given way to drink and at such times displayed a nasty temper.

He was also described as being an artisan.

It was determined that Miriam Tye and George Hibbs's mother had been old friends and it was thought that George Hibbs, who had lodged with Miriam Tye for 2½ years had no doubt formed some affection for her. It was additionally noted that Miriam Tye had informed a friend of her intention of marrying again during the present year.

It was also heard that George Hibbs's mother had told friends that when George Hibbs had been a child that he had had several falls and injured his head and that as a result his drinking of even small quantities of intoxicants frequently caused him to act in a very special and jealous manner.

It was heard that George Hibbs's firm had been shut up for the Coronation and that George Hibbs had therefore not been at work from the 25 until 28 April 1902, the day of the murder, and that he appeared to have been drinking more or less during all of that time which had made him quarrelsome.

On the morning of 28 June 1902 at 11am George Hibbs had asked Miriam Tye for his shirt, but she had refused to give it to him because she knew that he would pawn it for drink, which annoyed him and so he went out.

However, he came back soon after 1pm and went upstairs and according to Miriam Tye, rushed into the room where she was sitting with only her chemise on, and said, 'Now it’s me and you for it. I mean to do for you and then myself after'. Miriam Tye said that George Hibbs then tried to cut his throat and that when she tried to prevent him he then put his hand over her mouth and stabbed her in the left side of her abdomen.

The knife that George Hibbs had used to stab Miriam Tye had belonged to Miriam Tye's late husband and had been kept downstairs in a drawer for the use of the lodgers for mending their boots, and so it was thought that he must have taken it up with him.

In Miriam Tye's statement to her daughter at the hospital, she said that when George Hibbs burst into her room that he had asked her for 2/- and had said to her, 'If I don't have the 2/- I will take good care no one else shall have the 2/-'.

It was said that after George Hibbs left Miriam Tye's room after stabbing her that he had said, ''And now I'll be b----y well hung for it'. He then went downstairs into the room and lay on a sofa and either fell asleep or pretended to fall asleep until the police came, who described him as having been drinking but sober.

Another lodger said that when she saw George Hibbs at 11am that he thought that he had had a drop of drink.

The earlier event of 1 June 1902 when George Hibbs had previously attempted to stab Miriam Tye had involved George Hibbs's either cutting or ripping her bodice with a knife which it was heard Miriam Tye had told another lodger, would have stabbed her if it had not been for her stays. However, it was said that Miriam Tye had cautioned him not to do it again and had forgiven him and George Hibbs had said that he was sorry.

It was said that on 27 June 1902 that another lodger had asked Miriam Tye to have a glass with him which it was said that he usually did when he paid the rent and that when George Hibbs came in and he asked him to join them that George Hibbs had replied, 'No, I don't want your bloody drink, I'll go and drown myself'.

It was said that George Hibbs and the lodger that had asked him to share a drink and always seemed annoyed and jealous of the other lodgers because they were friendly with Miriam Tye, it being noted that they were only friendly with her because she was attentive to them.

When the judge commented on the case in his report he said that the case was very near the line of manslaughter which was also the line of the defence, who said that George Hibbs's mind, owing to drink was in such a condition that he had no definite intent to kill Miriam Tye.

It was noted that when he was arrested he had said, 'I hope it will be a lesson for men who get mad drunk. I must have done it in a fit of jealousy'.

The jury were absent for about an hour before returning their guilty verdict and strongly recommended George Hibbs to mercy.

In the police report to the Secretary of State, it was noted that in view of the Judge's opinion, who had had the opportunity of seeing and hearing the witnesses on both sides, the crime could be considered as the reckless act of a morose, bad-tempered man, who had been drinking for days and who was under the influence of drink at the time and who was disappointed at not getting the money he wanted to continue his drunken bout rather than a wound with the deliberate intention to kill, and that it could be said that the suggestions in the judges notes amounted to a concurrence with the recommendation of the jury to mercy. However, the police report additionally noted that on the other hand, the words that George Hibbs had used to Miriam Tye, as given in her statement to the police and also to her daughter at the hospital, as well as the fact that he had taken the knife up with him when he went to see Miriam Tye bore heavily against George Hibbs.

However, he was not reprieved and his execution took place at Wandsworth on the morning of Wednesday 13 August 1902, at which point it was said that he admitted stabbing Miriam Tye, saying that he loved her and had been jealous.

It was noted that a few people had gathered to see the hoisting of the black flag.

see National Archives - CRIM 1/75/3, HO 144/581/A63547

see Edinburgh Evening News - Wednesday 13 August 1902

see South London Press - Saturday 16 August 1902