Saturday, 20 June 2015

Revenge Poker Killer Hanged

A man who got beaten by a neighbour who he challenged to a fight got his revenge by killing him with a poker, leading to him being hanged at Kirkdale gaol.

In 1877 John Golding, a 25 year old former soldier lived with his mother in Shenstone Street in Edge Hill whilst working as a labourer. At about 1030pm on 16th July that year he knocked on the door of a neighbour named Thomas Vaughan and asked him come outside with him to help 'soften someones head.' Vaughan declined  the invitation but Golding went ahead and challenged another neighbour called Daniel Lloyd to a fight. He then punched Golding to the ground and with his head bleeding, two neighbours then helped him home and dressed the wound.

A few minutes later Golding came out of his house with a poker and smashed Lloyd's window. When his wife Sarah came to see what was happening Golding pushed past her then struck Lloyd, who was sat at a table, four or five times on the head with the poker. Lloyd was taken to the Royal Infirmary,where he died on 24th July from a fractured skull having never regained consciousness.

The following day Golding, who had been remanded in custody the morning after the incident on a charge of assault, was committed to trial at the assizes after the inquest returned a verdict of wilful murder. At his trial on 3rd August Golding had nobody except his defence counsel advocating for him. His neighbours weren't concerned about his predicament, having described him to journalists as a 'violent fellow' and a 'terror of the neighbourhood.' He had previously been in trouble for assaulting police. 

The jury found him guilty of murder but with a recommendation for mercy. In sentencing him to death Mr Justice Hawkins told Golding that his version of events was untrue, there had been no provocation and the killing had taken place out of 'revengeful feeling.'

On 18th August communication was received from Whitehall that the Home Secretary Viscount Cross could see no grounds for a reprieve and the execution was confirmed for the following Tuesday 21st August. Golding had been hopeful of being spared the death sentence but he now resigned himself to his fate, attending divine service on the Sunday and being given communion by Father Bonte.

The executioner William Marwood arrived at Liverpool on the Monday having travelled from Ipswich, where a hanging he had been scheduled to carry out was postponed at the eleventh hour. The weather was befitting of an execution, with rain coming down in torrents throughout the night and the sky being filled with black clouds at 745am when the press were admitted to the gaol and bells began to toll.

At 8am the prison governor and Father Bonte came into the yard followed by Golding and Patrick McGovern, who was from Latimer Street and also being hanged for killing a neighbour.Golding remained calm, albeit extremely pale, even when Marwood took time adjusting the rope after being dissatisfied with his first attempt. He then writhed for two to three minutes after the bolt was drawn before life was finally pronounced extinct.

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