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Author Topic: Thomas Wells Maidstone 1868  (Read 645 times)
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« on: January 19, 2017, 11:46:41 AM »

Thomas Wells was executed at Maidstone on Thursday, for the murder of Mr. Edward Walsh, station master at Dover. This is the first execution that has taken place in accordance with the terms of the act of Parliament, within the prison walls, and in the presence of such functionaries of the law as are referred to in the statute. The scaffold was erected in a small yard adjoining the debtors' portion of the gaol, which had one time been used as an exercising yard for the prisoners. It is enclosed by four high walls. The apparatus is the same that was formerly made use of, with some slight alterations. The drop is on a perfect level with the stone paving of the yard, and the executioner has to descend several stone steps to remove the bolt, which supports the platform, and the latter then drops into a recess prepared for it. The apparatus is intended to be a permanent fixture in this portion of the prison, and when not required it is intended to screen it from sight by having it closed in with moveable shutters. It was, of course, generally known that the execution was to take place on Thursday, but as it was also known that it would be conducted in private, and that the only sign of the dreadful proceedings would be the hoisting of a black flag outside the prison wall at the moment of the falling of the drop, there were few, if any, strangers in the vicinity of the prison, and the town presented quite its ordinary appearance, No one was present at the execution but the Under Sheriff, Governor, Sergeant, Chaplain, and the representatives of the press. The culprit prayed fervently with the Rev. Mr. Frazer, the chaplain, for a few seconds, and as the drop fell, he was singing, with a loud clear voice, the 486th hymn.

Monmouthshire Merlin 22/8/1868

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« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2017, 20:43:36 PM »

Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser - Monday 27 July 1868

The business at the Kent Summer Assizes, which have been held during the past week, has been of a less important character than usual. The calendar was a short one, and there were few cases which engrossed public attention. The most serious was that in which a prisoner named Wells, almost a youth, a servant in the employ of the London, Chatham, and Dover Railway Company, was charged with the murder of his superior officer, Mr. Walshe, the master of the Priory Station, Dover.

The deceased gentleman was a man of considerable attainments, having been educated for the bar, and for a long series of years he had enjoyed the respect of a large circle of acquaintance. The prisoner had been frequently insubordinate, and had been cautioned by Mr. Walshe, and on the 1st of May, Mr. Cox, of the Harbour Station, had the prisoner before him, in the presence of Mr. Walshe, in consequence of his having persisted in firing a pistol on the company's premises and having been guilty of other irregularities. The prisoner behaved in a very defiant manner to Mr. Walshe because he had reported him, and Mr. Cox consequently ordered him out of the room. In a few minutes afterwards the prisoner returned and shot Mr. Walshe, who died almost immediately. The prisoner was shortly afterwards found hiding in an empty carriage on siding, with a recently discharged gun in his hand.

The case was quite clear against the prisoner, although no one saw him actually fire the shot, and the only defence of his counsel was temporary aberration of mind, the prisoner, it was alleged, having met with some slight accident previously. He was found guilty, and sentenced to death, without any hopes of mercy being held out. Should the prisoner be executed, of which there seems every probability, this will be the first private execution at Maidstone, and probably in the country.

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