The Horrifying Story of the Last Person Executed in Essex Who Killed His Wife for Her ‘Temper’

It was 1965 when the Murder Act abolished the death penalty for murder in England, Scotland and Wales. The last executions in Britain took place on August 13, 1964, when Peter Allen and Gwynne Evans were hanged for the murder of John Alan West during a robbery in Cumbria.

However, the last execution in Essex took place fifty years earlier, in 1914. That was when Charles Frembd, a 70-year-old German grocer, was hanged in Chelmsford after being found guilty of the murder of his wife Louisa.

Mr and Mrs Frembd had both been found in bed at their Leytonstone home with their throats slit. But while Mrs. Frembd was dead, her husband survived and was charged with murder. At the hospital, Frembd blamed his wife’s “terrible mood.”

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A piece of paper had been found on a dressing table next to their bed on which Frembd had written: ‘Her first husband ran away with himself and I can’t take it anymore. God forgive me. Her mood did it all.” Frembd was found guilty, with a recommendation for mercy due to his age. The recommendation was not followed and he was hanged.

But while Frembd was executed for murder, others were put to death for what today would be considered lesser crimes. A total of 4,642 people were executed for a variety of crimes in Britain between 1800 and 1964. The majority (4,304) were carried out in England and Wales, with a further 322 in Scotland and 16 in Northern Ireland.

The data comes from the Capital Punishment UK website, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. It was painstakingly compiled by historian Richard Clark, who now lives in America. Between 1800 and 1914, 140 people were executed in Essex at Moulsham, Springfield and Chelmsford.