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Triple Murder

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Triple Murder

Postby joyce1971 » Thu Apr 23, 2009 10:13 am

Ive only started researching family tree after watching WDYTYA first time 2 months ago, found my great great great grand father, William Joyce, a gardener of Boston, Lincoln in 1841 Census was married to Eliza with 5 children and 2 boarders, anyway started getting Birth Certficates and found that his children had 3 different mothers, Elizabeth, Eliza and Amelia. Rather confusing so started ordering Birth, Marriage & Death Certificates using BMD and today received the death certficate for Eliza and shocked to find that Occupation listed as 'convicted criminal' and cause of death 'public execution', so all night have been trying to find more info and lo and behold her name is mentioned on this site under 1841 Census Year heading 'Crime & Punishment' Heading as follows "Eliza Joyce, an alcoholic, confessed to killing her three children and was executed in Boston in 1841 in front of 5,000 people." A factual error as she was executed 2 August 1844. I'm in shock now as last week i thinking that 3 generations of Joyces were gardeners and florists, boring, so careful what you wish for. Tonight Ive found an article in The Times July 24 1844 which gives details of tragic case and how she pleaded guilty to poisoning 3 of William Joyce's children. Does anyone know any more of this case or as Im new to this game how I can find out the facts of the case.

Ian Joyce
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 1970 1:00 am

RE: Triple Murder

Postby Staff Writer » Thu Apr 23, 2009 5:43 pm

Hi Ian,

What a discovery! You're absolutely right about being careful what you wish for. It sounds like a tragic case, but definitely something worth investigating further.

I've found reports of the court case in local newspapers (available online) but most seem to say exactly the same as [i]The Times[/i] report, so they probably won't offer any new insights. I have, however, also found a couple of more detailed accounts from the [i]Hull Packet and East Riding Times[/i] of both the court case and the execution, which I can email over to you if you like.

It might also be worth talking to the staff at Lincolnshire Archives, which holds records from Lincoln Assizes (see [link=]here[/link]) and copies of the Lincolnshire newspapers, which may have covered the story in more detail.

Good luck, and please do keep us posted of what you find.

Daniel Cossins

Staff Writer
Site Admin
Posts: 43
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 1:58 pm

RE: Triple Murder

Postby joyce1971 » Thu Apr 23, 2009 10:26 pm

Hi Dan

Thanks very much for the information [:D] it has given me a start and yes, will definitely do more investigation as love history [8|] also to try and find more of the background to the events, this has never ever been mentioned in the family so its up to me to leave it for future generations. Once again, thanks I will post up information as I find it.

Best Wishes


Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 1970 1:00 am

RE: Triple Murder

Postby joyce1971 » Fri Apr 24, 2009 5:06 am

have spent the day trying to find information and case gets more tragic, interesting and complex, more questions than answers appear. Anyway read following: The Hull Packet & East Riding Times 26/07/1844, The Hull Packet & East Riding Times09/08/1944, The Times 24/07/1844 and it could be said the following:

Infacts murdered

Ann Joyce b 01/01/1842 d 22/01/1842
Emma Joyce b 1/10/1839 d 11/10/1841
William Joyce b 1827? d18/12/1842

William Joyce, after death of Son, William became suspicious.
Eliza Joyce was arraigned Lincoln Assizes July 1843 on charge Attempted Murder of William Joyce but found not guilty.
William refused have any contact and Eliza and infant went to Boston Union Workhouse where 1st or 2nd July she confessed to poisoning all three children, William by Arsenic, Emma and Ann by Laudanum.
Araigned Lincoln Assizes July 1844 and after pleading Guilty Mr Justice Coltman donned the black cap and passed sentence of death.
She was hung at Lincoln Castle 2 August 1844 where depending which account crowd of 5000 to 5000 watch the public execution.
There are loads got to find out about the case also check on whether Eliza Joyce the last woman in British Criminal History to be sentenced to death after pleading guilty. Also, newspaper talks of 4 posionings, that she was araigned in 1843 March Assizes as well.
Im pleased with progress as it was only 24 hours ago I received her death certificate. Overall feel sad also want to know why she chose them particular children and not my GGGrand Father, Henry.

Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 1970 1:00 am

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