Execution of William Kelly for Murder

Execution of William Kelly for Murder | Woodcut by Bewick
Woodcut by Bewick

Derby Mercury 11 September 1772

COUNTRY NEWS. Gloucester, Aug. 31. On Friday Afternoon was executed, and afterwards hung in Chains on a Gibbet 30 Feet high, erected for that Purpose on Campden Hill in this County, William Kelly, for the Murder of Richard Dyer, of Campden, Gardener. He persisted in denying the Fact in the most solemn Manner, calling God to witness his Innocence, till he came within Sight of the Spot where he committed the Murder. He could then hold out no longer, but confessedĀ  that he alone committed the Murder; and declared the want of Money was the Temptation; that he overtook Dyer on the Road to Campden, walked with him some way, and as they passed along he (Kelly) picked up a Stake as it lay in the Road; that at that Instant, and not before, the Thought of murdering Dyer came into his Head, and soon afterwards, as Dyer was getting over a Stile, he knocked him down with a Stake and killed him; but when he saw Dyer lie dead on the Ground, he said his Heart would not let him search him, but he immediately ran away.

His Father and Mother met him on the Road not far from the Place of Execution, and the Scene of their parting was very affecting. When the Executioner left him, he put a little Straw in his Hand to give the Signal by; and afterwards being told by one of the Officers that when he was ready he was to drop that Straw, he with great Eagerness answered, “Do ye think God Almighty is ready for me?” and soon after gave the Signal, and was launched into Eternity.
He was about 22, and has left a Wife and Children behind.

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