Liverpool Echo, Tuesday, 9th May 1911
Everton Murderer Hanged
Seymour pays the penalty for his crime
Thomas Seymour, a sailor, was hanged at Walton Gaol this morning for the murder of his wife in Breckfield Place, Everton.
There is never much now to attract the curious and the morbid to Walton on an execution morning. The old order even of dwindling interest has largely gone, though this morning, owing to the notoriety, Seymour obtained a bigger cluster of busybodies
?? lined themselves up against the wall opposite the prison gate – sombre and forbidding even when lighted up with a flood of sunshine.
A sprinkling of policemen lent a touch of relief to the scene, but otherwise it was ligubrious enough. A fascinating summer morning, of which Seymour had just one glimpse as he passed into the Court of Death, made the aspect glorious all round, in striking contrast to the legal tragedy inside the prison.
All the officials the law requires for the grim ordeal were ? in attendance, and were duly noted as they passed beyond the grim doors which closed with a reverberating bang after every functionary had stepped inside.
The execution took place on the stroke of nine o’clock
Among those present at the execution were the governor of the prison, the High Sheriff of Lancashire, Sir George Pilkington, the chief warder, a number of other warders, and the prison chaplain, the Rev. Mr Baker.
The procession to the scaffold was formed in the ordinary fashion just before nine o’clock. The condemned man rose early and was attended by the Church of England chaplain.
Breakfast was served , and Seymour afterwards spent his time quietly in his cell until the last summons came.
Ellis and Pierpoint were the executioners.
Seymour showed no bravado, but was stolid ? up to the end. He walked quietly and firmly to the scaffold.
The prison bell tolled for about a quarter of an hour before the execution took place, and at a minute after nine o’clock, there was one stroke from the bell, which seemed to indicate to those outside that the sentence had been carried out. The minute bell tolled at intervals afterwards, and then suddenly stopped.
The crowd gradually dispersed as soon as they knew that all was over. The officials afterwards emerged from the prison gates and drove away. We learn, officially, that no scene took place at the scaffold, the condemned man meeting his fate quietly.
The following official notice in a black border was posted on the prison gates at Walton, about an hour after the execution.
“We, the undersigned, hereby declare that judgment of death was this day executed on Thomas Seymour, in his Majesty’s prison, Liverpool, in our presence. Dated this 9th day of May, 1911 – G W A Pilkington, Sheriff of Lancashire, John Dillon, governor of the prison, H. Drury Baker, chaplain”
Dr. Price, medical officer of Walton Gaol also issued the usual certificate, stating that death had taken place.
The body hung for about an hour in the pit of the execution room, and was then cut down.
The Story of the Crime
The story of the crime is brief but lurid. The man, who was about 65 years of age was a sailor by profession and had been years at sea, leaving his employ with good discharges. He was liked by his fellow sailors, and never gave any trouble. He appears to have lived a single life for many years, but he took a fancy to the woman he murdered, who was a cousin or near relative. She had, some time previous to marriage, been left a small legacy, and probably Seymour knew of this. Their married life was not long and could hardly be regarded as in any way agreeable. The woman was addicted to drink and whatever Seymour may have been at sea, he was in the habit of indulging himself to some extent in intoxicants, when he got to hand, though not apparently as a rule to a large degree. The murder was discovered through a relative calling at the house, when, on being invited inside, she noticed Mrs Seymour lying dead in a corner. The body was huddled up.
. It was said that Seymour, after killing her with a blow from an instrument, and made a clean break in her skull, with abominable callousness, threw a shovelful of hot ashes on the body, probably to soak up the blood . He then went out and gave himself up to the nearest policeman in Breckfield Place, Everton. The officer thought the man was crazy, but on going to the house he discovered the woman brutally done to death. Charged before the Stipendiary, Seymour made a full confession of his guilt. He exhibited unwonted, almost diabolical callousness, and evidently wanted not to be troubled with evidence. He was, of course, ultimately committed on the Coroner’s warrant, as well as on the decision of the stipendiary. He was held under special observation by Dr. Price, the medical officer of Walton Gaol, but no indications of insanity were found. At the recent Assizes Seymour was condemned to death. He confessed his crime with audacious frankness in the presence of Mr. Justice Avory. The judge was somewhat astonished at his vehement explicitness. The utmost care was taken to probe to the core (?) the suspicion some people had that a man who was so callous ?? indifferent, in a word, so utterly inhuman was not in his right mind. No support could be found for this kindly theory, and the man himself was not at all disposed to thank anyone for interfering on his behalf. He owned to the murder with amazing frankness, and one was driven to the conclusion that he had not only done the murder but that he desired to pay the penalty of it, and have done with life. He has got his wish.
Several efforts were made on Seymour’s behalf to induce the Home Secretary to interfere and save the man’s life. There was but faint hope of success in this direction. The Home Secretary sent a formal message stating that he could see no grounds for advising the exercsie of the Royal Clemency on this occasion.
There have been many violent murders in Liverpool, but probably in the rather heavy list of such crimes within the last twenty years, no murderer stands out in such odious horror as the wretch who surrendered his life to justice on the Walton gallows this morning.
Copyright 2002 / To date