Executions · Wales

Man executed for killing daughter, apparently to live with new wife without his children

March 1, 1886
Swansea, Wales
Thomas Nash (39, pictured) is hanged for the murder of his daughter

Nash was a widower when he met his second wife, though he failed to inform her of his two children. He left the girls (17-year-old Sarah and 6-year-old Martha Ann) in the care of Mrs. Goodwin whom he had been renting a room from for the previous three years. Nash was not seen again for weeks, presumably to live with his new wife.

Goodwin reminded Nash he had not paid his rent for the week, amounting to 11s 3d (roughly £39 today). He promised to pay the following week. When Nash still had not paid, Goodwin brought Martha Ann with her to Nash’s work, knowing he would be collecting his wages. Goodwin produced a bill of £1 18s 2d (roughly £128 today) and left Martha Ann with Nash.

Two men watched Nash and his daughter walking down a pier, though he returned alone soon after. The men asked where the girl had gone, and Nash cryptically replied, “She is on the top.” Eventually he claimed she had accidentally fallen from the pier railing and disappeared into the sea. Her body was found to have no markings, leading investigators to report Martha Ann had not accidentally fallen as she would have sustained some sort of injuries if she had tumbled from the pier. It was concluded Nash had thrown Martha Ann into the sea, and it was speculated she was killed to allow Nash to continue living with his new wife without his daughters.

Nash was convicted of murder and sentenced to hang. While his execution was not public, around 5,000 people gathered outside Swansea Prison, and cheered as the black flag, signifying the death of a condemned prisoner, was raised.

Sources:
Dalling, Robert. “The stories of the 15 men executed at Swansea Prison for their evil crimes.” Wales Online. November 7, 2017. Updated November 14, 2017. Accessed: March 1, 2020. https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/local-news/stories-behind-15-men-executed-13854255.amp
Storey, Neil R. The Little Book of Murder. The History Press, 2013
“Execution of the Swansea Murderer.” Western Mail [Cardiff, Wales]. March 2, 1886 (image source, via Newspapers.com)
Western Mail. December 8, 1885
“The Alleged Murder By A Father At Swansea.” Western Mail. December 7, 1885
“Alleged Shocking Case of Child Murder.” Reynold’s Newspaper [London, England]. December 6, 1885
“Suspected Murder in Swansea.” Western Mail. December 5, 1885

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