Date Of Execution: 9 Dec 1902
Crime Location: Glamis Road, Shadwell, London
Execution Place: Pentonville
Executioner: William Billington
Thomas Fairclough Barrow was convicted of the murder of his step-daughter Emily Coates 32 and sentenced to death.
They had been living together as man and wife but over time had started to argue and Emily Coates left him and taken lodgings at 7 Wapping Wall in Shadwell, London with a friend.
Soon after she took out a warrant against him for assault which was served on him on 16 October 1902 which had to be answered by Saturday 18 October 1902.
Thomas Barrow went to see Emily Coates on the Friday at her lodgings but she refused to speak to him and slammed the door in his face.
The next day, as she was on her way to work he ran up behind her and stabbed her five times.
The murder took place early on the Saturday 18 October 1902 by the Shadwell Basin. Emily Coates had been living in Wapping Wall, Glamis Road which was described as a narrow thoroughfare which led from the East London Hospital for Children to the waterside. It was said that a row of houses faced a blank wall which enclosed Shadwell Basin and that just before 8am Thomas Barrow and Emily Coates were seen standing close to the wall, evidently engaged in a heated conversation when suddenly Emily Coates was seen to suddenly run away shouting, 'Police', pursued by Thomas Barrow.
Thomas Barrow had a sailor's sheath knife in his hand and he then stabbed her in the back with it.
Emily Coates then fell to the ground and Thomas Barrow tripped over her and a number of waterside labourers then ran up and seized Thomas Barrow and handed him to the police.
A doctor was called for but by the time he arrived Emily Coates was to be dead. Emily Coates was found to have five wounds, one of them to her breast being a fatal injury. She also had two wounds in the back, one on the scalp and another in her hand.
It was heard that Emily Coates was Thomas Barrow's niece and that they had previously lived together at 17 Red Lion Street in Wapping, having cohabited for fifteen years. Whilst at 17 Red Lion Street they had passed themselves off has father and daughter.
It was noted that on 10 October 1902 that Thomas Barrow had met Emily Coates in the company of another man and that he had then dragged her indoors and that she had yelled out, 'Someone go for the police. He'll murder me'. Shortly after a police constable was fetched and Emily Coates left the house for good and went to live with some friends in the neighbourhood.
It was after that that Emily Coates took out a summons for the assault that he had committed on her which was served on Thomas Barrow on the following Wednesday.
Then, two days later Thomas Barrow went to the house where Emily Coates was living, and when he was refused admission, he said, 'You'll all know of it before twelve o'clock tomorrow'.
It was then early the following morning that Thomas Barrow murdered Emily Coates. It was reported that he had gone out in the morning after oiling and sharpening his knife to meet Emily Coates on her way to work.
It was said that he had met Emily Coates in Glamis Road on her way to work and had run after her and stabbed her in the back after which there was something in the nature of a struggle after which she ran across the road, pursued by Thomas Barrow, who then stabbed her in the back again, causing her to fall after which he was secured by some passers-by.
Emily Coates had had two children, a 12 year old girl and another child in 1901 that died seven hours after birth at St Georges Infirmary. A friend of Emily Coates said that Emily Coates had never told her who the father of her children was, and added that she had no reason to suspect that Thomas Barrow and Emily Coates had been living as man and wife.
It was reported that when Thomas Barrow was charged with murder that he replied, 'Yes, thank you'. He was also quoted as saying at the police station that all he wanted was a rope round his neck.
Thomas Barrow was a native of Landport in Portsmouth and had been working in the East End of London as a labourer.
Emily Coates was also known as Emily Barrow and was a general hand at Messrs Francis and Fisher's, provision merchants in Broad Street, Ratcliff. She was described as a single woman.
Emily Coates was the illegitimate daughter of Thomas Barrow's wife who had died over 15 years earlier. It was noted that Thomas Barrow had had three other children with his wife, two boys and a girl, the girl having died a few years earlier and the eldest son having joined the Navy and the other son having joined the army, leaving Thomas Barrow and Emily Coates alone together at 17 Red Lion Street.
It was noted that Thomas Barrow and Emily Coates had two rooms between them at 17 Red Lion Street, one being the living room which had Thomas Barrow's bedstead in it and the other being Emily Coates's bedroom, it being additionally noted that they never had more then two rooms.
Her friend, who lived at 7 Wapping Wall in Shadwell, said that Emily Coates had frequently complained of having been beaten by Thomas Barrow and that she had seen her with a black eye about six weeks before her murder, adding that Emily Coates had told her that Thomas Barrow had given it to her. Her friend said that when she asked Emily Coates why Thomas Barrow had beaten her she told her that it was because she had come in late which the friend said was always the reason that Emily Coates gave for Thomas Barrow having beaten her.
The friend said that on Friday 10 October 1902 that Emily Coates had come to her at about 10pm crying bitterly and told her that Thomas Barrow had beaten and kicked her because he had found her standing in Cinnamon Street with a young man that lived in Lynton Road, Bermondsey, and added that she was afraid to go home. She said that Emily Coates shewed her bruises on her left arm and asked her to let her stay with her and said that she consented.
She said that Thomas Barrow came to her house the following day, Saturday, and created a disturbance and said, 'I want my wife'. Emily Coates's friend said that she replied, ''Wife! There is no wife of yours here', and that she pushed Thomas Barrow off the doorstep and shut the door.
She said that Emily Coates told her that she was afraid to leave the house to go to work and that she went to Emily Coates's firm for her and excused her absence. She said that she also told the manager of her firm the reason for her absence and said that he told her that Emily Coates ought to go to the Police Court and claim a protection order.
Emily Coates's friend said that she then went the same day to Arbour Square Police Court with Emily Coates where they obtained a summons against Thomas Barrow for assault, noting that Emily Coates gave her name as Emily Barrow.
Emily Coates's friend said that Emily Coates accompanied her back home and remained with her and that at about 7pm or 8pm the same night that Thomas Barrow came to her house again and knocked on her door. She said that her son answered the door and that Thomas Barrow made his way into the passage and said, 'I want Emily'. Emily Coates's friend said that she then went forward to him and that Thomas Barrow tried to force his way past her and begged him to go out and told him that she did not want him there. However, she said that he refused to go and that she then called for assistance and her 19-year-old son and her landlord came to aid her and together they got him out of the house and shut the door. Emily Coates's friend noted that Thomas Barrow did not see Emily Coates on that occasion.
Emily Coates's friend said that when she left the house that Saturday morning to go to Messrs Francis, Fisher and Co., that Thomas Barrow had been waiting outside her house and that he had followed her to the firm. She said that he had blackguarded her all the way up but that she had been in such a hurry that although she answered him she did not bother much about what he said. She said that when she got to the place where Emily Coates worked that she left Thomas Barrow outside.
She said that when she returned Thomas Barrow said, 'What have you done with my Em?' and said that she replied, 'There is her employer, go and tell him what you have done to her', but said that he took no notice but followed her back home. She said that when she went down the hill into the market that there were two policemen standing there and that she turned round to Thomas Barrow and said to him, 'Are you going to molest me anymore? There are two bobbies there, I'll put you where I shall know where to find you'. She said that Thomas Barrow then slunk away, saying, 'I am done now'.
Emily Coates's friend said that she then ran home but said that Thomas Barrow followed her close to her home. She said that when her door was opened she turned round and said something to him and said that Thomas Barrow replied, 'You wicked, crafty, old cat, you have done me', and said that she replied, 'You are too late, she is gone'. She said that Thomas Barrow then went away.
She said that on Sunday morning, 12 October 1902, that Thomas Barrow came round peaceably and quiet to her door and that she went to him and that he asked her if she would kindly ask Emily Coates to give him the room door key. Emily Coates's friend said that she replied, 'Emily sent the key round home last evening, Mr Barrow'. She said that he thanked her and went away.
Later, on the Tuesday Emily Coates's friend said that her children told her that they had seen Thomas Barrow walking up and down in front of her house.
She said that Emily Coates stayed with her all the week but had gone to work as usual.
Emily Coates's friend said that on the Thursday evening, 16 October 1902 that Emily Coates came to tea at 5.30pm and had her tea and then went back to work and later came home at 9pm and told her that when she had left earlier after tea to go back to work that Thomas Barrow had sprung from behind the urinal in Shadwell Fish Market and caught hold of her and said, 'I've got a piece of paper from you, have I?', and that she screamed out 'Police! Murder!' and that four men came out of a public house and rescued her and that she was then able to go to work.
Emily Coates's friend said that on the Friday evening 17 October 1902 that Thomas Barrow came to her house between 8pm and 9pm and asked for Emily Coates and said that her son told her that she was out and that her son had had to forcibly eject Thomas Barrow. She said that after Thomas Barrow was forcibly ejected that he called through the letter box, 'You shall all know tomorrow before twelve'.
Emily Coates's friend said that Emily Coates usually left her house at 7.50am as she had to be into work at 8am and that Thomas Barrow knew what time she had to go.
She said that on Saturday 18 October 1902, before Emily Coates left home at about 7.50am that she went upstairs to look out of her window to see if she could see Emily Coates and said that Emily Coates then called out, 'The road is clear' and that Emily Coates then went out.
However, she said that at about 8.15am that a man came to her and told her that Emily Coates had been stabbed and taken to hospital and that Thomas Barrow had been arrested.
She said that she then put on her things and ran off to firm where the man told her to go to the doctors from where the doctor's servant then told her to go to the Children's Hospital and that when she got there she was told that Emily Coates was dead.
Emily Coates's friend said that she later went to the Hospital Mortuary that evening and saw the body of Emily Coates.
She said that Emily Coates had been a hard-working, clean, tidy and obliging girl, noting that she was inoffensive. She added that Emily Coates had kept Thomas Barrow for long periods with her earnings and that she had constantly of late been in fear of Thomas Barrow and that she was afraid that he would murder her.
He said that Thomas Barrow had always seemed to have had such command over Emily Coates and added that she had never suspected that Emily Coates had been living an improper life with Thomas Barrow, her step-father.
The Medical Officer that carried out the post mortem on Emily Coates said that she had been brought into the Children's Hospital on the Saturday 18 October 1902 at about 8am and that he had seen her almost immediately in the Casualty Ward but that he found her to be dead. He said that her jacket had been taken off and that her clothes over the front of her chest were stained with blood and that the clothes on her back were also quite wet with blood.
He said that when he examined her body at 9.30am he found that there were five wounds in all, one in the chest, two in the back, one over the left ear and one on the back of her left hand.
He said that then, by order of the Coroner, at 3pm the same day he carried out the post mortem, with the following findings:
Chest Wound: This was situate between the 1st and 2nd ribs on the left hand side, just to the left of the breast bone. It was a clean-cut wound about ¾ of an inch in length. Its long axis was parallel to the ribs. There was a scar on the breast bone under this wound. The wound passed through the pleural and pericardial cavities on the left side and ended in a wound of the aorta about half an inch long. The left pleural cavity contained about 2½ pints of blood.
Back Wounds: There were two wounds on the back, the upper one between the shoulder blade and a wound of similar character to the other, with its long axis downwards and inwards towards the spine. This wound opened the pleural cavity on the right hand side without apparently injuring the lung. The lung was collapsed and the cavity contained 8 ounces of blood. The second wound on the back was a small punctured wound just above the buttock on the left hand side.
Wound Above Left Ear: The fourth wound was above the left ear. It was of similar character to the first two. It began where the ear joins the scalp and passed downwards and inwards into the neck for 1½ inches.
Wound On Back Of Left Hand: This was a slicing wound laying bare the tendons on the back of the hand.
The medical officer noted that her heart was slightly enlarged but healthy, and that her lungs showed signs of old pleurisy but were otherwise healthy. He said that her kidneys showed evidence of cystic degeneration and contained a large number of cysts. However, he said that all her other organs were healthy and that she was not pregnant but that she had been a mother.
He concluded that her cause of death was haemorrhage from the anterior wounds and that he thought that death must have occurred within very few minutes of her receiving her chest wounds.
He said that all of her injuries might have been done with one instrument, the instrument being flat bladed, but said that he could not state whether or not it would have been a very sharp instrument, but said that he thought that it must have been at least three inches long, but noted that he could not accurately measure the wounds. He added that the instrument would have been used with much force as her breast bone was injured and considered that the knife that he was shown, which belonged to Thomas Barrow, could have done all the injuries.
The landlady the lived at 17 Red Lion Street in St George's said that she was a widow and that she had known Thomas Barrow and Emily Coates for just over 11 years after they came to lodge with her, noting that she had not known them previously. She said that when they first came to her that the family consisted of Thomas Barrow and Emily Coates and that at first they had occupied only one room. However, she said that shortly after Thomas Barrow's three children and Emily Coates's child then arrived and that the six of them were together in the same single room which was the front top room. She said that they occupied the room for 3 or 4 years. She noted that Thomas Barrow's daughter died around 1897. She said that the family then later took another room on the same floor which they had continued to occupy to the time of the murder.
She said that Emily Coates's child was in an asylum, which she thought was in Dartford, but said that Emily Coates never divulged anything about that and added that she did not know who the father of that child was.
She said that Thomas Barrow and Emily Coates had quarrelled a great deal and noted that she was seldom up in their place and didn't know what they quarrelled about.
The landlady said that Emily Coates gave birth to a child in St George's Infirmary over twelve months earlier and that it was after that that the quarrelling had started, noting that she could not say whether the quarrelling was about the baby.
She said that Thomas Barrow's last son left the house and joined the army a little whilst after the child was born, the result being that there was no one but Thomas Barrow and Emily Coates left in the house.
She said that there was considerable jawing every time Thomas Barrow came in and said that she didn't know that Emily Coates had been keeping company with a young man.
She added that she did not know what Emily Coates was to Thomas Barrow but said that she always called him 'Father'.
She said that on Friday, 10 October 1902 between 8pm and 9pm that Thomas Barrow went to meet Emily Coates and brought her home. She said that when Emily Coates got against her door that Thomas Barrow pushed her in and shoved her up the stairs until she got to the top when she screamed out, 'Someone go for a policeman, he'll murder me'. She said that at the time she was in her front room on the ground floor sitting at work and that she then sent for the police and that the Thames Police came and went upstairs. She said that she only went on the first flight of stairs and that when the police went up that Emily Coates came down into her room. She said that Emily Coates's friend, who had been sitting with her when the police arrived, then asked Emily Coates to come round to her house. She said that she then asked Emily Coates whether she was friends with the woman and said that Emily Coates replied, 'Yes, and I'm going round there'.
The landlady said that she saw Emily Coates again on Saturday 11 October 1902 when she came for her clothes.
She said that there were two keys to their door and that Emily Coates had one and that Thomas Barrow had the other. He added that Emily Coates's key was brought to her by Emily Coates's friend's son on the Saturday.
The landlady said that later on the Saturday evening that a young man called at the house and asked whether Emily Barrow was at home and said that she told him, 'No, she has not been here since last night, only she came here this afternoon for her clothes'. She said that she then told him that she had gone to stay at her friend's house and that when he asked for the address that her son went round with him and showed him where they lived. She said that she gave him the address because she thought that he was Emily Coates's young man, noting that Emily Coates had spoken to her of a young man on the Friday night, mentioning his name and that Thomas Barrow had seen her with the young man and that she had assumed that that was the cause of the disturbance between Thomas Barrow and Emily Coates. She added that she thought that Emily Coates was going to marry the young man at Christmas.
The landlady said that she had begun to suspect that there was something more than father and child between Thomas Barrow and Emily Coates after the last child died and that after the disturbance she began to suspect it even more.
She said that on 16 October 1902 that a police constable brought a summons for Thomas Barrow at about 11am. She said that Thomas Barrow had been in the yard and that she waited for him to come in before she gave it to him. She said that he seemed very much upset about it and said, 'What is this for?', and said that she replied, 'I don't know, unless it is for that affair on Friday night'. She said that he then said, 'I did not insult her, I only pulled her by the arm and made her go upstairs'.
The landlady said that on Friday, 17 October 1902 at about 10.30am that Thomas Barrow paid him the rent, noting that he was crying very bitterly and that he said, 'Mrs, I have lived with you 11 years. You know Emily, but you don't know her. She is a false cat. She has deceived me from top to bottom. What have I done for her to go away like this?'. The landlady then said, 'I don't know Mr Barrow, she is old enough to take care of herself. You must try and get some work and do the best you can'.
She said that the same evening Thomas Barrow came to her at about 7pm while she was at work in her room and told her that he wished to speak to her particularly, but that he would come back again, but said that he did not come back as far as she knew until after she was in bed and said that she heard him go up to his room.
The landlady said that on the morning of Saturday 18 October 1902, at about 6.50am that she heard Thomas Barrow go down the passage. She said that he saw her daughter in the kitchen and that he said, 'Good morning' to her and that he then went out and that he never saw him again afterwards.
She noted that she had never heard Thomas Barrow threaten to take Emily Coates's life before and added that in their rooms there was one bed and that the other was like a sofa.
The young man that Emily Coates was said to have been seeing was a confectioner who lived at 39 Morica Road in Bermondsey and worked at Messrs Finnis & Co., where he said Emily Coates had worked since July 1901. He was a married man and said that he had not been keeping company with Emily Coates although said it was true that he had signed a paper to say that he had been keeping company with her for about three months, but added that he had not known what he was saying at the time.
He said that Emily Coates had frequently complained to him of having been knocked about by Thomas Barrow. He said that he last saw Emily Coates on the Friday and that she had been to see him several times at his works, but said that she had only come for information. He said that she asked, 'The peel you have left there, how many soakes do you give it?, to which he said he replied, 'Let the man there do it'. He said that she had never complained about Thomas Barrow since he left the firm. He noted that he had earlier said to the police that he had seen Emily Coates with a black eye six weeks earlier, but later said that he must have been wrong because it was at Messrs. Finnis and Fisher's where he had seen her and before he had left. He said that when he saw her black eye that Emily Coates had told her that her father had done it but did not say why he had done it.
He said that he had seen Emily Coates on the Friday, 10 October, soon after 7pm whilst he was working in Millwall at MacAnity's. He said that she was waiting for him as he came out and that they walked down the road and took a tram to Wapping. He said that Emily Coates paid for the tickets for both of them and that Emily Coates had asked him to go to Wapping and that when they arrived they just went to the corner and that they then got disturbed by Thomas Barrow who he said came up to them and said, 'What is this' or something of that sort. He said that Thomas Barrow then said to him, 'Who are you' and that he replied, 'Friend'. He said that Thomas Barrow then caught hold of Emily Coates and said 'Come this way' and that he also said something to him about 'kick my brains out'. He said that after that that he went away. He noted that when Thomas Barrow had caught hold of Emily Coates by the arm that he had said 'Let her be'.
He then reiterated that the statement that he had made to the police and which was read over to him and which he signed as correct was not true. He said that on Saturday 11 October 1902 that he had ascertained that Emily Coates had been staying at 7 Wapping Wall in Shadwell, noting that Emily Coates had only told him the day before and that he had only gone round to see her to see how she had got on, but said that he didn't see her there and was informed that she had left there that night. He said that the reason that he followed Emily Coates to Wapping Wall was because he was a little bit off. He noted that he didn't believe that he had seen Emily Coates on the Saturday night at Wapping Wall and that it must have been someone else that he had seen, and said that he believed that he must have been pushed out. He said what he had said in his signed statement that he had seen Emily Coates on that occasion and that she had said to him, 'I had to run out because my father knocked me about', was not true.
He said that on the Sunday 12 October 1902 that he had arranged to meet a friend who had worked at Messrs. Finnis & Fisher's and that they arranged to get a smock and apron and that as they were going along he had seen Emily Coates standing at the door of 7 Wapping Wall and that he spoke to her and she to him, but that nothing out of the way was said. He said that she showed him her arms and said that they had a number of bruises on them which she said that her father had done. He said that at the same time that Emily Coates asked him to attend the police court when the summons was heard and said that he agreed to go.
He said that he thought that Emily Coates came over to see him at his work on the Monday again and that he didn't think that he saw her again more than twice after that and the time of her murder.
He said that he saw her on the Friday night, 17 October 1902 at 9pm at 7 Wapping Wall at which time Emily Coates seemed to be in low spirits and said that he told her that he wouldn't go to the police court. He said that she also asked him to meet her at Devonport Street but said that he refused to do so, although he said that he did actually go to meet her at Devonport Street at the time of the appointment but said that she wasn't there and so he went to Arbour Street and enquired of a policeman if the summonses were all over and was told that they were. He said that he then went to 7 Wapping Wall and was told that Emily Coates was dead and that he afterwards went to Leman Police Station where he made and signed his statement.
He noted that when Thomas Barrow had found him with Emily Coates that he had not asked him his name, only who he was and reiterated that he had said, 'Friend'.
An engine driver that lived at 31 Wapping Wall in Shadwell said that on Saturday 18 October 1902, shortly after 8am, that he was passing along Glamis Road, going southwards when he passed Emily Coates who he knew by sight who was on the opposite side of the road. He said that she was walking at the usual pace and heading northwards. He said that he then saw Thomas Barrow, who he said he also knew by sight, about 100 yards behind Emily Coates, running towards her. He said that Thomas Barrow then passed him and that as he did so he broke into a walk as he got opposite him.
The engine driver said that he went on but that almost immediately he heard a scream and turned round and saw Emily Coates with her hands up as if to protect her face. He said that he then noticed that Thomas Barrow had a knife in his right hand and that he appeared to be about to strike Emily Coates and said that he then shouted , 'You cowardly hound' and that he then ran after him. He said that as he did so that he saw Thomas Barrow strike at Emily Coates as she was going away from him, saying that he believed that it cut her hand. He said that Emily Coates then ran across the road and that Thomas Barrow followed her and that Emily Coates then fell on the opposite side of the road about 12 yards from where she was first struck.
He said that he did not hear her speak a word after the first scream. He said that another man, who he did not know, then seized Thomas Barrow and that he then went to the man's assistance and clutched Thomas Barrow by the wrist whilst the other man took the knife out of Thomas Barrow's hand. The engine driver said that he sent a man for the police and another for the doctor and that he then got another to assist the first man in holding Thomas Barrow down. He said that Thomas Barrow said, 'Let me get up', but said that he said, 'No, hold him there till the police arrive', and that Thomas Barrow then said, 'She is my wife. She is a false woman'.
The engine driver said that he had seen about three blows struck noting that there was a blow aimed at Emily Coates as she fell but that he was not sure if it reached her.
He said that the messenger then returned to say that the doctor was out and that he then carried Emily Coates to the children's Hospital. He said that when he arrived at the hospital that he drew the sister's attention to the stab wound to Emily Coates's back and assisted in taking her coat off.
A dock labourer who lived in Drewton Street, Ratcliff said that on Saturday 18 October 1902 that he was in Glamis Road at about 8.50am going towards High Street in Shadwell when he saw a woman about 30 yards in front of him on the opposite side of the road and going in the same direction that he was. He said that he then saw Thomas Barrow running up behind the woman but said that the woman did not notice him until he reached her and that he then deliberately hit her in the back. He said that he didn't notice whether Thomas Barrow had anything in his hand and thought that Thomas Barrow had hit the woman with his fist. He said that the woman then screamed and ran across the road and that Thomas Barrow followed her and that on reaching the opposite footpath that he struck her again on her left side and that she then staggered and fell and that he then fell on top of her.
He said that the woman fell face downwards and that that he then ran up and saw a knife being handed over to the engine driver. He said that he then assisted in holding Thomas Barrow until the police arrived. He said that whilst he was holding Thomas Barrow that he said, 'It's my wife, It's my wife', and that as they were taking him to the police station that he said, ''I did it. I did it. You don't know all'.
After several other witnesses were heard at the inquest, which was held on the 20 and 23 October 1902, the jury returned a verdict of murder against Thomas Fairclough Barrow.
They also expressed their opinion that the conduct of the young man that had seen Emily Coates on several occasions before her murder was deserving of censure and that his evidence was untrustworthy and prevaricating.
The jury also commended the principal witnesses for their promptness in arresting Thomas Barrow and conveying Emily Coates to the hospital in absence of the police, and especially the engine driver whom they considered had acted with great coolness and collectedness, who they said they thought was deserving of the highest praise.
Thomas Barrow was convicted of murder on Wednesday 19 November 1902 at the Central Criminal Court and sentence to death. He was executed on Tuesday 9 December 1902 at Pentonville Prison in London.
see National Archives - CRIM 1/80/1, HO 144/682/102454
see "ANOTHER CAGE ACCIDENT.-Twenty-three coal-." Times [London, England] 24 Oct. 1902: 5. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 14 July 2013.
see Tenbury Wells Advertiser - Tuesday 25 November 1902
see Framlingham Weekly News - Saturday 25 October 1902
see Newry Reporter - Thursday 11 December 1902
see Uttoxeter Advertiser and Ashbourne Times - Wednesday 10 December 1902
see Daily Telegraph & Courier (London) - Monday 03 November 1902