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Murder of Elizabeth Jackson 5th February 1887


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Elizabeth Jackson as been cohabitating with Thomas Leyland for the past 8 years, prior to her murder, on 5th February 1887, Thomas was charged at St Helens 7th February 1887, for doing grievous bodily harm to Elizabeth Jackson, Elizabeth accused Thomas Leyland of setting her on fire with a piece of paper when lighting his pipe from the fire, she was very severely burnt about the body, arms and legs, she also said the had threatened to do so in the past. Thomas would not put the flames out when she begged him to do so. Elizabeth was taken to Providence Hospital where she latter died. Thomas when questioned said it was a accident, he was put on remand.


Thomas Leyland was charged as; At Windle on the 5th February 1887, feloniously did kill and slay one Elizabeth Jackson.


Thomas Leyland was tried for Murder at Liverpool by Mr Justice Day, he was found Guilty of Manslaughter and was sentenced to 20 years, he was aged 43, born St Helens 1844, occupation Coal Miner.


Elizabeth Jackson died aged 43 she was buried 18 February 1887 in St Helens cemetery in a paupers grave, section 17 grave 298.


I am looking for any details for the above Thomas Leyland, if anybody as access to the 1891 census I believe he could be in Maidstone Jail, Kent and this is the last known date I have for him.



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How come he wasn't hung?

This is what I found


5 jan 1852 at Lancaster
Robert leyland and Thomas Leyland convicted of Larceny and given 4 months
2 april 1855 at Lancaster
Thomas Layland Larceny 6 months
7 apr 1856 at lancaster
Thomas Leyland obtaining money by false pretences 6 months
10 aug 1861 Liverpool
Thomas Layland Robbery not guilty
10 may 1887 Liverpool assizes
Thomas Leyland manslaughter 20 years
As Thyme says he was in Kent in 1891, misspelling of the name as Lyland
HM Convict Prison Chatham (later Gillingham) Kent
Here is some info and pictures of same

and here




There are many different newspaper reports of the incident on genesreunited but I dont have access, in one of them I managed to snip this description

evidence was not sufficient to convince the jury that there was any intent to cause ?death..


maybe that's why he got manslaughter


also I caught this, the other convictions I listed and one for Robert Leyland we don't really know if they are connected, although there are no further convictions after the murder trial for a Thomas Leyland then I found this in those same newspapers


21 november 1851 Liverpool Mercury

DISTRICT INTELLIGENCE. ST. HELEN'S. POLICE .-Robert Leyland, ThomasLeyland, John Rimmer, Wm. Dardam, and Samuel Woods.were charged before Z. Sillar, Esq., ? with stealing a. watch and 17s. Ed. from. the person of one Henry Lea. From the evidence..


Thats all I can see

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Thanks Ratty, Thyme


Ratty, the Thomas Leyland you found, I not sure if he is the same Thomas who set fire to Elizabeth Johnson, on his charge sheet, it states that he as been in St Helens Police Court, 31 July 1876, for being drunk and was find 5s, 16 November 1880 steeling a pair of boots & waistcoat he was find 10s 6d. I would have imagined that if he had committed more crimes they would have been listed. I don't have any Thomas, Robert Leyland as two brothers, Cousins yes, I have narrowed Robert down as two possibilities, as for Thomas what you found there is about 5 possibilities.


I have nothing on Elizabeth Jackson only a name.

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Your'e right of course there is no proof of them being the same person, you would have to dig all the news stories out and see if more info there to connect them.

I didn't manage to find a trail for him after prison, maybe one death in Isle of White in 1899 could be him but its a long shot. The prison was a terrible terrible place and I would imagine that he would not have survived the sentence


Read the very last comment on page 3



These are the census images for the prison for you to download



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Thanks for the census detail, I cant find Thomas on the 1901 census, so the death you found on the Isle of White could be him, aged 55 so that's born 1844 which is about right, I am wondering if he was transferred to the prison on the Isle of White and died in there, there is no Thomas Leyland buried in St Helens Cemetery in that year. So if this is him why wasn't his body claimed by the family back in St Helens.

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This is one that I have not with it being manslaughter but I will be doing a talk about Murders, Hangmen and Crime and Punishment at the Town Hall on Thursday the 19th Febuary

Here a taster Margaret Davey was boiled alive in a cauldron it Smithfield in 1542 she had poisoned the family that she work for

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What a gruesome punishment Ned noway.gif


Haven't a clue wrb, long shot, could have been released and ended up there or maybe it was nearest hospital, you could phone and ask them to check if its the right person I suppose

What about this one Ned :[


Catherine Hayes was drawn to Tyburn on a Hurdle, and there burnt alive, without the Indulgence of being first strangled, as has been customary in like Cases. But, to strike a proper Terror in the Spectators of so horrid a Crime, a special Order was sent to the Sheriff to the contrary. She was fasten'd to the Stake by an iron Collar round her Neck, and an iron Chain round her Body, having an Halter also about her Neck, (running through the Stake) which the Executioner pulled when she began to shriek: In about an Hour's Time she was reduced to Ashes. She affirmed in Newgate, that Billings was her own Son, got by Mr. Hayes's Father, when she lived with him as a Servant. So that Billings murder'd his own Brother, assisted in quartering him, and then lay with his own Mother, while his Brother's mangled Limbs were under the Bed. Billings was hanged in Chains near Tyburn in the Road to Padington. (The London Journal)

Catharine Hayes, as soon as the others were executed, was, pursuant to a Special Order, made fast to a Stake, with a Chain round her Waste, her Feet on the Ground, and an Halter round her Neck, the End whereof went through an Hole made in the Stake for that Purpose: The Fuel being placed round her, and lighted with a Torch, she begg'd for the Sake of Jesus, to be strangled first: whereupon the Executioner drew tight the Halter, but the Flame coming to his Hand in the Space of a Second, he let it go, when she gave three dreadful Shrieks; but the Flames taking her on all Sides, she was heard no more; and the Executioner throwing a Piece of Timber into the Fire, it broke her Skull, when her Brains came plentifully out; and in about an Hour more she was entirely reduced to Ashes. She confess'd herself guilty in part of the Murder of her Husband Mr. John Hayes, for which she beg'd God and the World Pardon, and declar'd she repenter herself heartily for being concern'd in it: She had a great Confidence of an happy State, becasue she said she was caritable and just in her Dealings. She own'd Billings to be her Son, and that his true Name was Thomas Hayes. She was somewhat confus'd in her Thoughts, and dyed in the Communion of the Church of England.
Thomas Billings was the same Day hang'd in Chains within 100 Yards of the Gallows. (The Weekly Journal: or, The British Gazetteer)


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There where many similar case as I will be talking about a few at my talk I do not want to put them on this posted but I will put some more on later

The French punishment Tenaillement was to pour molten lead in to the open wounds for the victim's that's a bit of hot stuff

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  • 1 month later...

Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser Saturday 21st May 1887


Manslaughter of a Paramour


At Liverpool Assizes on Wednesday, before Mt Justice day, Thomas Leyland, collier was charged with the manslaughter of Elizabeth Jackson at Windle on the 5th February. Mt Swift appeared for the prosecution and the prisoner was defended by Mr Segar. from the evidence it appears that the prisoner and the deceased had been living together for seven or eight years, and had had one child, which was nor three or four years of age. on the night in question a scream was heard in the backyard, which was common to the houses. two men named Walding and Cummings went into the yard and found the deceased in flames. they took off their coats wrapped them round her and did all in their power to extinguish the flames. Walding took the deceased to the house she lived in, but found the door locked. after some time the prisoner came and opened the door, used some foul language and asked what was wanted. walding said they wanted to get in and added you know your wife had been on fire ? Prisoner replied "Take her away she is not coming in here, one of you take her; and keep her; and let the ______ women die" Walding then tried to force his way into the house, but the prisoner would not let him and closed the door. Eventually the prisoner allowed the woman to be taken into the house. A surgeon and police-constable were then sent for and the officer on his arrival asked her how it had happened and she replied "My master set me on fire with a piece of lighted paper and he said he would not put it out" The deceased afterwards modified her stamen, and said the prisoner did not intend to set her on fire. The fact mentioned were proved by the witnesses Walding and Cummings and Inspector Whitaker. From the doctors evidence it appeared that the burns were most serious and the woman had no chance of recovery, Deceased died on the 16 February. The prisoner was found guilty but recommended to mercy, on the grounds into consideration, though he almost invariably acted upon them, and the prisoner must be sentenced to 20 years penal servitude.


So there is a child involved in all this, born 1883 / 1884, can't see a way of finding anything about him / her, anyone any ideas to work on.

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I imagine to the workhouse in those days unless there is family around to take it in. Have you tried following all members of the family to see if she/he turns up? What a gruesome story, I remember seeing this before and there was more of a comment by the murderer but I cant think where, newspapers maybe or Old Mersey Times

I'm not paid up on Genes but there are a few articles covering the murder here, search the whole page because there's at least one further down, maybe there is more info in them. The court notes might say something if you could find them.



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My next step is to see if there is any details in the local newspapers next time I am in St Helens, Ratty I am not yet sure which family Thomas Leyland is from, I think at this stage he is Thomas Leyland born 4 November 1843 son of Thomas & Elizabeth Leyland nee Vose.

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