THE EXECUTION OF JOSEPH LAYCOCK - ARMLEY GAOL, LEEDS - MONDAY 26th AUGUST 1884
“Oh my children, my children. Lord have mercy on my children”
Joseph Laycock – 26th August 1884
Notice of the sentence for Joseph Laycock for the murder of his wife and four children at White Croft Sheffield 11th July 1884
The execution itself was noticeable on a number of accounts
It is said that the authorities refused to admit the press – the rumours were that there had been a number of botched executions recently at Leeds. And Laycock was due to be hung by a new hangman James Billington. They were obviously fearful of another fiasco but the report that appears in the Yorkshire Gazette dated Tuesday 27th August 1884 refutes that statement
The scaffold was erected in the prison yard at Armley Gaol and was the very same one that was used to execute possibly Sheffield’s most infamous criminal Charles Peace in 1876
The Daily News (London, England) dated Tuesday, August 26, 1884; Issue 11972 reported that Laycock was calm and resigned to his fate on the eve of his execution but it appears that on the day of this execution Monday 26th August 1884, his "courage and fortitude" totally deserted him. Laycock was to have said just before being hanged, "You will not hurt me?" to which James Billington replied, "No, thaal nivver feel it, for thaal be out of existence i' two minutes."
He had fainted in the cell and had to be escorted by warders to the scaffold. As the noose was being tightened around his neck, he exclaimed “Oh my children, my children. Lord have mercy on my children”
and was then dispatched into oblivion.
This report appeared in the Yorkshire Gazette dated 27th August 1884. It must rank as one of the most detailed accounts of a judicial execution recorded
The Daily News (London, England) dated Tuesday, August 26, 1884; Issue 11972
Yorkshire Gazette dated 27th August 1884
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