19 March 1913 – Edward Palmer

A scrap of paper and the whispered words ‘My fiancé did it’ were enough to send Edward Palmer down for murder.

Palmer, known to his friends as Ted, was hanged for viciously slitting the throat of Ada James after she reacted angrily to news that he was going to find his fortune in the West Indies.


Naturally she didn’t want her betrothed to leave, so she threatened to tell everyone of his plans and from that moment on Palmer professed that he couldn’t remember anything.

The 23-year-old was known for being unstable – often waving a gun in front of his mum and two sisters, just to scare them – and it transpired he took a razor to his girlfriend’s throat and slid it across from ear to ear.

Palmer is then said to have drunk some poison to try to top himself but it didn’t work and the police finally caught up with him in the early hours of the following morning.


That he was a real chump, was obvious. James had managed to drag herself quite a way despite the copious amounts of blood, and it was enough of a distance for her to be found and rushed to the hospital where she later died. When Palmer was told this, he said: ‘You don’t mean to say she got over that stile? Do you think she suffered?’

But the really compelling evidence was a scrap of paper with Palmer’s name on it. That along with James’s last words stating that Palmer had committed the crime ensured he was sent to the gallows in Bristol, where he was hanged for the murder.

Also on this day

19 March 1901 – George Parker

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