Date Of Execution: 30 Dec 1902
Crime Location: Black Swan Yard, Watling Street, Baddesley Ensor
Execution Place: Warwick
Executioner: Henry Pierrepoint
George Place was convicted of the murder of his girlfriend Eliza Chetwynd 20, her 11-day-old daughter and her mother Eliza Chetwynd 60 and was sentenced to death.
He shot them all.
George Place had taken lodgings at Eliza Chetwynd's home and over time developed a relationship with the daughter, Eliza Chetwynd and had a child. When the mother advised her daughter to take out a summons for the support of the child George Place left.
He was later seen in a pub with a revolver saying that he was going to pay all three of them.
He went into their rooms in the early morning of 24 August 1902 at about 6am and shot them all.
The police report stated that the case was a miserable counterpart to the murders committed by Samuel Walton whose case at the time was similarly before the Secretary of State, with the trifling difference being that the exciting cause in the case of George Place was a Bastardy Summons instead of a Maintenance Summons. However, it was noted that George Place had carried out his crime three weeks before Samuel Walton and as such if there was any imitation in the crimes that it must have been Samuel Walton that had copied George Place.
Eliza Chetwynd had lived at home with her mother in Black Swan Yard, Watling Street, Baddesley Ensor. George Place had courted her and later moved into her home as a lodger where their intimacy ripened and a child was born on 14 August 1902, of which George Place admitted being the father, and who paid for the expenses of the confinement although he refused to pay any more. It was noted that he otherwise seemed to have been kind to her.
On 20 August 1902 a Bastardy Summons was served on George Place which he put in the fire, saying, 'I'll show you who is b------ well boss'.
It was noted that similarly to Samuel Walton, George Place was seen in a public house in Wilnecote on the night before the murder showing a revolver to two friends. They said that when George Place showed them the revolver he had said to them that 'He would settle the job. That there was the old girl, the misses and lad. that he was going to do for the three of them. That they had got to die'. They added that he finally said that 'He'd finish it by 6 o'clock next morning and give himself up to the police'.
The police report noted that George Place unfortunately kept his word and that after arriving home later that night at 1.30am he had gone to bed and got up again at 6 o'clock and then gone into the sleeping room where the old mother, the daughter and the baby were lying in one bed and shot them one after the other and then went out of the house.
He was followed by a mutual friend to whom he gave up the pistol to after which he walked on and subsequently quietly surrendered himself to the police.
At his trial it was noted that his only defence was the question of sanity whilst there was abundant evidence of premeditation and not the slightest evidence either before or after the event that he was otherwise of unsound mind, and the judge said that in his opinion that there was no sufficient reason why the death sentence should not be carried out.
George Place was executed on Tuesday 30 December 1902 at Warwick Gaol. It was the first execution at Warwick Gaol in five years.
see National Archives - ASSI 13/32, HO 144/685/103043
see Tamworth Herald - Saturday 06 September 1902
see Lichfield Mercury - Friday 02 January 1903