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MURDER MOST FOUL: 200 years since execution of infamous Radlett murderer

 Published on: 15th January 2024   |   By: Sophia Sheera   |   Category: Uncategorized

January 9, 2024, marked the 200-year anniversary since the man behind the infamous Radlett murder was executed.

In a crime that shocked the country and captured the imaginations of folk in Radlett and beyond, a solicitor from Lyons Inn called William Weare was murdered by John Thurtell on October 24, 1823. Thurtell believed Weare had cheated him out of £300 during a card game and so planned to murder the alleged swindler at a mutual friend’s house on Gills Hills Lane.

According to the Radlett & District Museum, Weare tried to escape but Thurtell ran after his victim, hit him in the head with the butt of a gun, stabbed him and slit his throat with a penknife. Aided by friends, Thurtell dumped the body in a nearby pond.

Not long after, two labourers discovered the discarded weapons.

Upon his arrest, Thurtell’s accomplice Joseph Hunt revealed the location of Weare’s body and was spared the death penalty, but Thurtell was sentenced to public hanging.

On January 9, 1824, large crowds gathered at the public gallows in Hertford to watch Thurtell hang. The gambler-turned-murderer was the first man to be hanged using the new drop-gallows built on the premises.

In commemoration of the horrific murder, the Radlett & District Museum is showcasing an exhibition reconstructing the events of the murder.

Photo credit: Harry Holt via X

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