Juan Ignacio Blanco  


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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery - Dismemberment
Number of victims: 3
Date of murders: November 15, 1902
Date of birth: ???
Victims profile: John Darby and his wife, and their ten-week-old daughter
Method of murder: Battered to death - Strangulation
Location: London, England, United Kingdom
Status: Executed by hanging on March 3, 1903

Edgar Edwards was perhaps his own worst enemy. He drew attention to himself by being arrested in London in 1902 for attacking a man with a lead sash-weight.

When he was searched business cards were found on him with the name of John W. Darby, a grocer of Camberwell.

This made the police suspicious and when they tried to contact the Darby family they found that they were missing and that their shop was virtually empty. They also found a blood-stained, 8lb sash-weight. This was just too much of a coincidence and resulted in a full blown investigation.

Edwards had recently rented a house in Leyton and when questioned the neighbours said they had noticed him digging deep trenches in the garden. This was enough for the police and they moved in and excavated the whole garden.

What their search revealed were the dismembered bodies of the Darby family, John and his wife, both in their twenties, and their ten-week-old daughter. Both adults had been battered to death while Ethel Beatrice had been strangled.

It seemed that the Darby's had wanted to sell their shop and had placed an advertisment which Edwards had answered. A meeting was agreed and having been shown around the shop Edwards asked to see the books.

John Darby stayed down in the shop while his wife with their 10 week old daughter in her arms tooks Edwards upstairs to see the accounts. Once alone he produced the lead sash weight and struck her over the back of the head with it crushing her skull. He then calmly strangled the little girl. He called to John Darby to come upstairs where he gave him the same treatment. The room look like a slaugherhouse with blood splashed over the walls.

He emptied the till and over a period of time slowly sold off all the stock in the shop. His motive was simply greed and he might have got away with it had he not tried a repeat performance.

Edwards was tried at the Old Bailey in February 1903 and his defence was one of insanity, of which there seemed to be an abundant history in his family. His plea was not accepted and he was found guilty and sentenced to death.

His last remarks to the chaplain on the scaffold, on 3rd March 1903, would seem to suggest that perhaps his plea of insanity should have been accepted by the court.

He is recorded as saying, I've been looking forward to this lot! He was not to be disappointed and his life was ended at Wandsworth prison by William Billington.



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