Lincoln

Lincolnshire Murders: Mother drowns her illegitimate son after meeting new partner

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From the archives: A mother who drowned her illegitimate son after planning to marry a new man was sentenced to death after being found guilty of murder by a jury.

Hannah Wright, 23, of Lincoln, had been found guilty of the murder of her young son Albert by a jury in 1895.

The court heard that Wright had taken her young son Albert along the canal near the Brayford on Monday, August 26, 1895, before throwing him in the water and leaving him there to die.

It is believed that Wright planned on killing her son after meeting a man who she planned to marry.

Albert had been born illegitimately and Wright had not told her new partner, a young man called Spurr from Branston about him, due to embarrassment.

At that time, having a child outside of wedlock made Wright look unsuitable for marriage. 

Wright’s son had been staying in the village of Weston in Nottinghamshire with a child minder while she visited her brother in Lincoln.

However, on the day of August 26, Wright went back to Weston to collect her child. She had told family members she went to Branston.

It was then that two people witnessed Wright walking along Fossdyke along the waterside with a bundle, which appeared to be a crying child.

The court heard from two witnesses who came forward following the death of young Albert.

James Fenton of Danesgate had been walking along Foss Bank with his girlfriend at around 9.30pm on August 26 when they saw Wright walk past with her child.

Some time later they saw her again walking in the opposite direction but this time without the bundle in her arms.

Fenton then followed her, seeing her enter a house on Alexandra Terrace – where her brother lived.

John Hobbins, a butcher in the area, also saw Wright sitting by the edge of the water on Foss Bank, however when she saw him, she stood up and walked away with her child.

The court heard how police had visited 23 Alexandra Terrace on August 29 to speak with Wright, as it was known she had a young child, however at the time she was not at the home.

Wright later confessed to her sister-in-law what had happened and agreed to go to the police station to confess the murder.

During her confession, she said: “I am a domestic servant and have been living at Mr Marshall’s in Branston, but have been staying with my brother at Alexandra Terrace since Friday last.

“On Monday night a little after 9pm, I went down by the Brayford and threw it [her son] into the water and went back to my brother’s directly.”

After being found guilty of the murder of her child, Wright was sentenced to be hung by the judge.

However a petition of mercy was opened and five days after sentencing Wright was reprieved and sentenced to life imprisonment.


The events of this story were researched and documented by Douglas Wynn in Murder & Crime Lincoln.