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Report Of The Execution Of Christina Collins' Murderers, 1840

This is a Staffordshire murder which has been brought before a wider audience thanks to television, after its use in an episode of "Morse". Contemporaries attributed the crime of these two Pickford's canal boatmen to the low moral standards of this class of worker arising from their being compelled to work on Sundays.

Christina Collins was travelling from Preston Brook in Lancashire to London in 1839. She was going by boat along the canals, using the services of Pickford & Company. This was a cheaper way to London than using the coach. At Stoke, and later at Stone, she had complained of the roughness and coarseness of the boatmen and enquired about taking the coach to London. Later, between Colwich and Rugeley, she was found dead in the canal. The boatmen James Owen and George Thomas were found guilty of her murder and hanged, William Ellis, though also found guilty, had his sentence commuted at a late stage.

( © William Salt Library: Broadsheets 2/37 )

Staffordshire Record OfficeWilliam Salt LibraryStoke on Trent City Archives