Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Trevor John Edwards - Executed 11th December 1928

Trevor Edwards was a collier from Cwmaman, and was convicted of killing his sweetheart Elsie Cook at Llanwenno near Brigend on 16th June 1928.
Before meeting Elsie had had been romancing a young lady named Annie Protheroe, but Annie left Cwmaman to go and live in Swindon, and Edwards had switched his affections to Elsie Cook. However soon after she became pregnant and a miserable Edwards sent a desperate letter to Annie:

Dear Annie,

I am writing to let you know that the trouble I feared has come and by the time that you come home I shall have a wife or a coffin. You might think that I don't think anything of you but you must not think that way because I have never loved anyone else, not in this life.

Despite making a promise to marry Elsie, Trevor Edwards had other, more evil plans on his mind. On 16th June he took her out for a walk on the hills of Llanwenno, after first stopping at a tafarn for a flagon of beer.
At some point of the walk Edwards hit Elsie over the head with the flagon. These are his own words:

'I smashed the flagon on her head. Fancy that? You would not have believed that her head would have been so hard, but she had a felt hat on. First of all I choked her, but did not choke the life out of her, but into a weakened state. Then I finished her with a razor.'

After attempting (and failing) to kill himself, Edwards quickly surrendered to the law and made a full statement, giving thelocation of Elsie's body. This was duly discovered, along with the open razor, cigarette stubs and fragments of a broken bottle. The womans head had almost been severed from her body.
The trial only lasted one day and the guilty verdict swiftly passed. The recommention of mercy from the jury was ignored and the death sentence handed down.
Unlike other executions at Swansea, the hanging of Edwards did not stir up a lot of interest locally. He had no local connections beyond being tried at Swansea Assizes. Nevertheless, some 200 did turn out on the moring of the hanging to keep watch at the jails gates.
Some interest was paid to the figure of a lonely woman dressed in a fawn coat and black hat who stood by the door until long after eight o' clock. Was it the mother of Trevor Edwards? Turns out she wasn't, she was simply waiting for her son who was due to be released from prison that day.
The almost fatal accident to one of the executioners on the day attracted almost as much attention as the condemned's fate.
The South Wales Daily Post:

Baxter was the hangman, and was assisted by Alfred Allen. Allen was a new assistant, at what was his first execution. Baxter was very quick in placing the noose and pulling the lever. Allen was not so quick, and when the drop opened Allen followed Edwards into the pit. No blame was attached; it was claimed by the Governor to be a mixture of the hangman's alacrity and Allen's slightly defective vision.

The assistant was unhurt and Trevor Edwards died instantly. To the very end he had, apparently, showed no emotion and had maintained his calm throughout.
8.14am the following notice was pinned to the jail's door:

Declaration of the Sheriff and Others

We, the undersigned, hereby declare that judgement of death was this day executed on Trevor John Edwards, in His Majesty's Prison, Swansea, in our presence.
Eleventh December 1928
(signed) Theodore Gibbins, Sheriff of Glamorgan
T. Brown, Governor of Swansea Prison
J.H. Watkin-Jones, Chaplain of Swansea Prison

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