Execution at Dorchester

The following report on the public executions of murderers Charles Fookes and Alfred Preedy at Dorchester, Dorset, England appeared in the Times on March 28, 1863.

Yesterday morning Charles FOOKS and Edwin Alfred PREEDY who were sentenced to death at the late assizes by Mr Sergeant SHEE; the former for the murder of Mr D Joseph STONE at Walditch on the 29th August last; and the latter for the murder of Mr Charles EVANS a warder at Portland Prison, were publically executed over the Northern Entrance to the Gaol.

On Friday the authorities at the gaol received a communication from the Secretary of State, to the effect that there was nothing to justify a commutation of the sentences in either case, and that the law must take its course.

Fooks at first was very sullen; and seemed indifferent to his fate; but he untimately expressed great sorrow for the crime that he had committed.asnd engaged ernestly in prayer with the chaplain and schoolmaster.

Preedy whose violent conduct at his trial caused so much alarm had also expressed great contrition to these gentlemen. On Thursday he had signed a long and pious address, after it had been read over to him four times by Mr Moule the Vicar of Fordington who appears to have drawn it up.

In this document he states that during the whole time of his trial he was conscious of what was going on and simulated madness in the hope of escaping punishment.

Early yesterday morning there had assembled int he space in front of the gallows a crowd of about 5,000 people, the greatest number of whom were women of the poorer classes. About 7 o’clock the prisoners ascended the gallows with firmness, followed by Mr Moule who prayed with them for a few minutes. Calcraft then made the necessary preparation and the bolt was drawn. 

Fooks who was a heavy man , 6ft 2″ in height, died instantaneously. Preedy a short and slender lad gave a few convulsive twitches and then all was over. At the end of an hour the bodies were removed in the usual way and the crowd dispersed quietly.

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1 Comment

  1. Kenneth Reeves said,

    March 29, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    If there was a hero and heroine to be honoured during world war 2, the pastor of Wimborne, Archibald Leslie Keith & his wife Margaret Layard Keith should have been considered, for sacrificing four boys t the cause.


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