The Sweeny Todd of Blackburn - The tale of Emily Holland (1876)
Days of Horror
At the start of 1876, within the small town of Blackburn, Lancashire – Emily Mary Holland was just 7 years old when her life was taken away from her by a local man by the name of WILLIAM FISH, a local barber who lived on the same street as her and her parents. Aged just 26, married and having two children of his own, he savagely took the life of Emily after asking her to do an errand at the tobacconist near to where they resided. This crime came only second to that of the infamous Jack the Ripper murders that came later in 1888 due to it’s barbarity and with a child being at the center of such a crime, it made news headlines worldwide. An intensive and at times exhausting police investigation took place with many homeless people being arrested. Although evidence against them extremely poor leading to most, if not all of the men, being released. The murder of young Emily, whilst shocking an entire nation, also became the first to be solved with the use of bloodhounds and it was one such hound by the name of ‘Morgan’ that helped bring Fish to justice. After seaching William Fish’ premises on the ground floor, it was when he was sent upstairs to look for clues that the hound started to bark at the chimney breast, alerting the police officers who, upon investigating found the remains of Emily. William Fish was instantly arrested and taken to Blackburn Town Hall where he would be charged with the murder of Emily Holland. Knowing his time was up and that there was no getting away with the crime, Fish wrote a statement detailing the exact details of his crime and how he disposed of the body. His trial would take place up until August 4th, where, after trying to plead insanity, the jury found him guilty of wilful murder and the judge sentanced him to death. He would be executed the same month, on August 14th, by means of hanging.
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