3 August 1795 – Lewis Jeremiah Avershaw
Just three minutes. That’s how long it took a jury to sentence today’s callous crim. Constable-killer Lewis Jeremiah Avershaw was strung up for murder and attempted murder today in 1795.
Aggrieved that he’d been found guilty, the fiend is said to have called for justice after sentence was passed in a Croydon court of law. Well, he got it alright – the sentence for murder in the 18th century was certain death.
For Avershaw (Jerry to his mates) had turned a gun on Constable David Price who copped a fatal shot, followed by Bernard Turner, who luckily survived his head injury, during a fracas outside a Southwark pub by the name of the Three Brewers.
The constables had been dispatched to the pub because they’d been tipped off that Avershaw would be there. He’d been implicated in a number of crimes and it was time to reel him in. However, Avershaw wasn’t ‘aving a bar of it.
He pulled out a gun and threatened to shoot, if the two law officers didn’t stand down. Well, both the arresting men were made of stern stuff and they weren’t scared by his threats and made as if to apprehend Avershaw, who brutally carried out his threat.
Price died of his injuries, so averhsaw was immediately up for murder.
Despite the jury’s certainty, doubt fell on the verdict after Avershaw’s defence cited a technicality, so the deciding judge called on a few of his colleagues to pass sentence. But there was no need, for it turned out Price wasn’t his only victim. The felon also stood accused of having a fatal pop at Barnaby Windsor and this time there was no ambiguity.
Of course Avershaw was objectionable yet he was happy to depict his guilty – apparently while he was waiting for his certain death, he spent his time in jail drawing scenes from his other crimes and attacks on the wall.
The day came and according to the chronicles of the ‘Newgate Calendar’ Jezza was hanged at Kennington Common alongside another murderer – John Little.