Pair ‘raised their mur­der­ous hands’

Nuneaton Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE -

GE­ORGE But­ler and Joseph Pace – both from Berk­swell – were ex­e­cuted at War­wick Gaol on April 28, 1820, for the mur­ders which hap­pened af­ter they had “bur­glar­i­ously bro­ken” into the house of a farmer named Thomas Phillips.

Af­ter dis­turb­ing the master at around 5am, they shot both him and his ser­vant, John Baker, who had been sleep­ing in the same room.

The judge said that Pace had ‘raised the mur­der­ous hand against the master,’ while it was But­ler who mur­dered Mr Baker who had tried to pro­tect his master at his own risk.

It was re­ported that But­ler, 24, had been brought up as a farmer’s labourer be­fore “giv­ing way to Sab­bath-break­ing and get­ting ac­quainted with evil com­pany brought him in to a way of liv­ing that made toil a trouble.”

Mean­while, 23-year-old Pace had got mar­ried just three weeks be­fore his ex­e­cu­tion.

Iron­i­cally, he had lived with the pros­e­cu­tor in the case as a ser­vant for a three-week stint ear­lier in his life. But­ler and Pace, who were said to be known for their in­volve­ment in other “dar­ing rob­beries”, re­fused to con­fess to their crimes, even when death was upon them.

The broad­side – which gave news of crimes and ex­e­cu­tions to the pub­lic from the 16th to the mid-19th cen­turies – re­gard­ing But­ler’s and Pace’s ex­e­cu­tions stated: “At a quar­ter to twelve they were brought out on the fa­tal drop, in front of the gaol, too much un­con­cerned ap­par­ently about their fast ap­proach­ing fate, when af­ter a short time spent in prayer, they were launched into the pres­ence of their of­fended Maker, to atone for the many crimes they had com­mit­ted against God and the laws of their coun­try dur­ing their short pil­grim­age thro’ life to eter­nity.

“Their youth­ful ap­pear­ance ex­cited tears of pity from the nu­mer­ous sur­round­ing spec­ta­tors; & it is hoped the God of all mercy thro’ the mer­its and in­ter­ces­sion of the blessed Redeemer, will have com­pas­sion on their guilty souls.”

This story was pieced to­gether with the help of Coven­try His­tory Cen­tre, based at the Her­bert Art Gallery.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.