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Forum Home > The Ultimate Crime. > Henry (Axeman) Wainwright. 1875.

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Many years ago, and to be honest, more than I care to admit, someone made a claim that one of their relatives was a famous murderer. As it wasn't a part of my family, and research was not as easy then as it is now, I let it pass. A few years ago, the same name, associated with the rather gruesome tale, emerged again. As there were no comment regarding the accuracy of the claim, I published a small piece on the subject, this time including the real facts. I have since discovered, human nature being what it is, someone is reluctant to acknowledge the facts, even though they are availiable in the records. So here's a refresher.

Henry Wainwright, was born in the White Chapel area of London, in 1838. His brother, Thomas Wainwright, born in 1844, also saw the light of day in the same place. Henry carried on their fathers trade as a Brushmaker, and Thomas was apprenticed to an Ironmonger, both around the Commercial Road, in Whitechapel. As their father was also born in the same area, they have no connection whatsoever, to the pleasant little town of Bilston, Staffordshire. ( where, as we all know, they had enough of their own villians ) For those who may have an interest in the grisley goings on, lets see what we can do. Henry Wainwright was forever chasing after women, despite being married with five children, especially when he had a few bob in his pocket. Around 1870, he met a perfectly repectable young girl, and to get his wicked way with her, had to promise to marry her. He didn't, for obvious reasons, and certainly not after he got her in the family way. Instead, he changed his name to Percy King, pretended they were in fact married, and set her up in some lodgings. Not so unusual at the time, as it meant he could go about his business and at the same time, still do an odd bit of chasing. At the start, he sent regular amounts of money to support his " wife " and child, but it may have begun to wear a bit thin when she produced child number two. His brush shop was nothing special either, and he began to feel the pinch on his wallet. Something had to been done, as his " wife ", Harriet Louisa Lane, started to be a bit more assertive. It has to be said, that brother Thomas knew all about this affair. It was never certain exactly when she disappeared, there were several letters received over the next few months, which of course poor Harriet could never have written. It all came to light, after he was caught dispossing of a couple of rather smelly parcels, in the November of 1875. Investigation by two unbribable London policeman, led to his arrest and that of his brother, Thomas. What had come to light, was the dismembered, and decomposing, body of a young woman, who was soon identified as the missing Harriet Louisa Lane. ( the former Mrs King ) Apparently, according to the evidence, she had been shot three times, had her throat cut, and was then buried in Lime, beneath the floor of his shop in Commercial Road. Due to a downturn in business, and the risk of losing the shop, Henry had, presumable with his brothers help, dug up what remained of her, chopped the remains into small pieces, and begun to move them to a more secure building, one his brother had previously run as a beer house, prior, it was supposed, to throwing them in the River. His plea of " I don't know this woman ", didn't cut much ice at his trial, far too many witnesses for that, and the Judge duly gave him the sentence he so richly deserved, Death by Hanging. His brother was lucky, for swinging the decapitating and chopping axe he was only sent down for seven years penal servitude, Henry Wainwright was hanged, on 21st December,1875, in Newgate Prison, by William Marwood.

So that's it then, and if anyone has other information I may have missed, please let me know.


A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

October 10, 2012 at 11:46 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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