Thursday, 6 June 2013

Army Reservist Kills Sweetheart

In 1895 a 26 year old man killed his girlfriend in Toxteth and was only spared execution thanks to a late reprieve from the Home Secretary.

Coal-heaver Edward O'Brien, who lived in Havelock Street in Seacombe, had for about 5 years been seeing 21 year old servant girl Sarah Jenkinson who lived in Embledon Street, off Upper Parliament Street. But in July 1895, when O'Brien was away in Warrington for training in his role as an army reservist, Sarah began a liaison with somebody else.


On 29th July 1895 O'Brien returned to Liverpool and heard of Sarah's new love before going on to spend most of the day drinking. At 1045pm went to Embledon Street, where Sarah and her new boyfriend were, along with some other friends. O'Brien demanded to see her but she refused to come outside and he went up to her bedroom and dragged her from it down to the kitchen then cut her throat from ear to ear with a razor. Sarah went out into the year but collapsed and was dead by the time police arrived at the scene a few minutes afterwards.

O'Brien was apprehended by police in the next street, having made only a half hearted attempt to escape and was taken to the Olive Street Bridewell where he said 'I am very sorry it is all through the drop of drink.' O'Brien was sentenced to death but this was commuted to life imprisonment following a 10,000 signature petition that contained signatures from people on both sides of the River Mersey.

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