30 June 1936 – Frederick Herbert Field

Maybe Frederick Herbert Field would have got away with his killer tendencies, if avarice hadn’t got the better of him.

By day he came across as harmless – merely fixing signs around London. But that masked a murderer who had a predilection for targeting women.

Shopped

One of his victims could have been a prostitute by the name of Norah, aka Annie Louisa Upchurch, whose 20-year-old body was found next to a shop. Just the day before, Field had been tasked with taking down the ‘To let’ sign at the very same shop.

With little or no evidence to go on, the coroners left the verdict open, but just under two years later, Field swanned into a newspaper office and shopped himself – admitting the crime of how he’d lured Upchurch into the shop, killed her and made off with her handbag.

The story went to the police, but he bottled it when he went to trial – and in the absence of any hard evidence plus a retracted statement, there was nothing more to go on.

Money talks

What was in for him? Money, that’s what. He was hoping to get a nice payout from the paper for an exclusive. At least, that’s how it came across in court, so he was let off.

A couple of years later and he was back in custody, this time for going AWOL while in the Royal Air Force. The fiendish felon used the opportunity to confess to another random killing – this time a widow in Clapham, by the name of Beatrice Vilna Sutton. But this time he really did stitch himself up, because he let out secrets that only the killer could have known. They had him by the short and curlies now and a guilty verdict was a fait accompli.

He was sentenced to death and it was carried out at Wandsworth Prison on this day in 1936, when he was 32 years old.

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