Juan Ignacio Blanco  


  MALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

  FEMALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z




Murderpedia has thousands of hours of work behind it. To keep creating new content, we kindly appreciate any donation you can give to help the Murderpedia project stay alive. We have many
plans and enthusiasm to keep expanding and making Murderpedia a better site, but we really
need your help for this. Thank you very much in advance.









Characteristics: Revenge
Characteristics: Revenge - To avoid capture
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: April 19 / June 2, 1892
Date of arrest: June 2, 1892
Date of birth: 1863
Victims profile: Harry Richards (his former fiancée's uncle) / Police Sergeant Enos Molden, 49
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Melksham/Warminster, Wiltshire, England, United Kingdom
Status: Executed by hanging in Devizes Prison on July 26, 1892

John Gurd was engaged to Miss Florence Adams and was looking forward to getting married. They had sorted out most of the arrangements and had the banns read out in the local church.

On 19 April, Florence told him she wanted to call the wedding off but could give him no satisfactory explanation. Gurd suspected that her uncle Henry Richards was behind the break up and decided to confront him. During the ensuing argument he shot Richards then fled.

The local police started a manhunt for the missing gunman, and on 2 June he was accosted by two officers, Superintendent Perret and Sergeant Moulden.

In a desperate attempt to avoid capture, he fired two shots at the pursuing officers, hitting Sergeant Moulden, who later died from his injuries in hospital.

Gurd was finally arrested, and after his trial at Wiltshire Assizes, he was sentenced to death. He was hanged by Billington. At the inquest held after the execution, it was claimed that the drop had failed to break his neck which had very strong muscles.



John Gurd

A broken-hearted lunatic asylum attendant shot dead a police officer in Warminster in 1892. Sergeant Enos Molden, whose name is inscribed on the London memorial, was shot while trying to arrest John Gurd at the entrance to Longleat, near Warminster.

Gurd went on the rampage after his engagement to housemaid Florence Adams was called off when it was revealed he owed money to patients and tradesmen.

Feeling incensed and rejected Gurd travelled to Melksham and shot dead his former fiancée's uncle in Spa Road.

Going on the run, Gurd later turned up at the White Hart Inn, in Corsley, where he was recognised by the landlord. Police were alerted and Sgt Molden was shot while a second officer tried to wrestle the killer to the ground.

A crowd of mourners, including 120 policemen and the chief constable, were at Sgt Molden's funeral in Christchurch, Warminster. Gurd was found guilty of double murder following a trial and was executed on July 26, 1892.



John Gurd

The wedding day was only a week away when Florence Adams announced to her fiancé: “I’ve changed my mind. I don’t want to marry you after all.”

John Gurd, 29, was flabbergasted. After a moment’s thought, he decided that Florence’s uncle, Henry Richards, had put her up to it. He met Richards for a drink in Melksham, Wiltshire, on April 9th, 1892, and afterwards they went for a walk together. As they strolled along the canal bank Gurd shot Richards twice.

Fleeing the scene, he became a fugitive hiding out in the surrounding countryside. Hungry and tired, he tried to rouse the landlord of a pub at Corsley, near Warminster, in the middle of the night, hoping to get some food. When the landlord refused him, Gurd shot his horse and fled.

The police were summoned, and Gurd was surrounded on the Warminster road, near the entrance to Longleat Park. Deciding to make a fight of it, he fired two shots. One of them hit Sergeant Enos Molden, 49, who died shortly afterwards in hospital.

Gurd was finally captured and, despite pleading insanity, was hanged for the two murders on Tuesday, July 26th, 1892, in Devizes Prison.


The History of Wiltshire Constabulary

The Death of a Hero

The threat of the death penalty was no deterrent to the Wiltshire murderer John Gurd. When he shot two men dead, he knew he must certainly hang. He evenpleaded guilty at the start of his trial, declaring 'I am quite willing to die for whatI have done.'

Today clever defence lawyers would have pointed to his depression over a lostlove and the disastrous drinking binge that ensued. They would probably have argued that John Gurd wasn't in control of his emotions.

Whatever the truth, Gurd sealed his own fate on the night he shot Sergeant Enos Molden of Wiltshire Constabulary, near Whitebourne Cottage, Warminster. His hanging on 26th July 1892 was greeted with public celebration.

The murderer had been an attendant at a lunatic asylum, where he had been engaged to the asylum's housemaid, Florence Adams. With only a week to go before their marriage, Florence discovered that Gurd owed money to some of the patients and several local tradesmen.

She broke off the engagement, and in a letter to her former fiancé, she explained the reason. Gurd was incensed, he owed little more than £3, and he began to look for scapegoats. Florence's uncle, Harry Richards, was an obvious contender. He had always been against the marriage and made no pretence ofliking the young man. Gurd suspected that Richards was behind the letter. After brooding for three days, Gurd handed in his resignation at the asylum and returned to his family home in Shaftesbury.

Matters came to a head on Saturday 9th April 1892, when Gurd travelled back to Melksham to confront the uncle. He roamed the town looking for Richards and eventually discovered he was in a public house. Gurd paced up and down outside, resentment growing within him, until his target left the pub to walk home.

As Richards walked up Spa Road, the jilted man caught up, drew a revolver from his coat pocket and shot him twice in the back. A woman standing nearby saw everything. As Gurd turned on his heel and walked off, the mortally wounded man crawled towards her groaning in agony. The murder was immediately reported to the police, and the woman provided an excellent description.

Over the next few days a massive police hunt was mounted. Gurd was sighted at Bath and Frome, but finally gave away his whereabouts on the night of12th April when he tried to gain entry to a pub at Corsley.

The licensee of the White Hart Inn was having an after hours 'lock-in'. Gurd demanded to be let in and hammered his fists on the door. No doubt thinking it was the local policeman; the publican nervously unlatched the bolt. Rather than finding an officer, he discovered Gurd. After days on the run, the murderer now resembled a vagrant. He was told to leave the premises in no uncertain terms.

The 'lock-in' resumed as the door was bolted. But within a few seconds ashot was heard outside. Everyone ran out, to discover that one of the tetheredhorses had been shot. A figure was seen hurrying into the distance.

The police soon arrived from Warminster and quickly established that the culprit was John Gurd. It was clear, from what the publican told them, that he was heading for Melksham. Superintendent Perrett, Sergeant Enos Molden and two constables hurried off in hot pursuit. Eventually they caught sight of a darkened and disheveled figure.

Hearing the approach of the officers, Gurd turned and shouted 'Do you want me, Sir? Here I am.' Superintendent Perrett replied that they wanted to speak to him in connection with a murder in Melksham. As he did so, one of the constables advanced to within a few feet of the murderer.

In desperation, Gurd drew the revolver from his pocket and aimed at the constable. It was too late; before he could fire, the constable had knocked him to the ground. The two wrestled, but Gurd managed to get a hand free. Still holding the revolver, he pointed it in the general direction of the others. Two shots were fired, one hitting Sergeant Molden squarely in the chest. The Sergeant collapsed and died shortly afterwards.

By now Gurd had been overpowered and handcuffed by the Superintendent and the two constables. Once they had got their breath back, he was asked why he had shot the Sergeant. 'Because you did not give me time to shoot myself,' he replied.

Back at Warminster John Gurd was charged with the murder of Harry Richards and Sergeant Molden. Angry crowds surrounded the Town Hall at Trowbridge the following day, when he was committed for trial at Salisbury Assizes.

Public distaste was heightened by the revelation that the day after the murder, Sergeant Molden had been due to return to Shrewton. He had served for eleven years and was due to receive a testimonial and a marble clock from the villagers as a token of their respect.

A huge crowd attended the funeral at Christ Church, Warminster, where a memorial still stands. The mourners included 120 policemen, headed by the ChiefConstable, followed by the cortege and a band.

Gurd was tried in front of one of the sternest judges of the day, Mr. Justice Charles. From early morning crowds gathered around Salisbury's Guildhall, and apolice cordon was formed to prevent 'all and sundry' gaining admission to the courthouse.

The proceedings began with Gurd being asked whether he pleaded guilty or not guilty to the charges. To the consternation of his defence lawyer he replied that he was guilty. This came as a surprise to the judge too. He told Gurd: 'You must stand your trial.' But Gurd replied 'I wish to say I am guilty and I am quitewilling to die for what I have done.'

Eventually the judge and defence lawyers persuaded him to plead 'not guilty' and the trial got under way. His defence revolved around the fact he had been depressed and had been drinking all day when the crimes were committed. But, having heard his confession at the beginning of the trial, the jury took only eight minutes to return their guilty verdict. Accordingly, he was sentenced to death for the notorious double murder of Sergeant Enos Molden and Harry Richards.



home last updates contact