Juan Ignacio Blanco  


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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Rape
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: December 22, 1867
Date of arrest: 2 days after
Date of birth: 1832
Victim profile: Catherine Lewis, 9
Method of murder: Cutting her throat
Location: Longden, Shropshire, England, United Kingdom
Status: Executed by hanging at Shrewsbury on 9th April 1867

Seldom can two people have died for such a worthless trinket. Catherine Lewis was the eldest of the five children of farm labourer John Lewis and his second wife. Catherine spent the afternoon of Sunday 22nd December 1867 at the Longden home of Ann Davies. Before leaving the house to go to Sunday chapel nine-year-old Catherine asked Mrs Davies to pin a brooch on her shawl. The brooch, Catherine said, belonged to her step-mother.

At 7.30pm Catherine came out of the chapel on Longden Road after the service. Also attending the service that Sunday evening was 35-year-old John Mapp. He had, in 1859, been transported to Australia for assaulting an old woman but was now a farm labourer employed by Mr Whitfield of Longden Wood. Two other chapel-goers were Jane Richards, a domestic servant at the Whitfield farm, and Mary Hartshorn.

After saying goodnight at Longden Common crossroads, Mary set off towards her home at Longden Common while Jane, Catherine and Mapp set off along Long Lane to their respective homes. Jane went as far the Whitfield farm and turned off, leaving the other two to carry on along Long Lane.

John Aston was a sixteen-year-old waggoner who was also employed by Mr Whitfield. On the Monday morning he was set to ploughing a field along Long Lane. Also working in the field that morning was Mapp, who was spreading manure. Around 10am the two men stopped for their lunch. While they were eating Aston found a bloodstained black straw hat stuffed into a holly bush. When he showed the hat to Mapp he told the lad to bury it.

In the afternoon Aston put the hat by the entrance of the field and a short time afterwards Mary Hartshorn happened to be passing when she noticed it and thought that she recognised it. Asking around, Mary found that Catherine had not returned home the previous night, though this was not uncommon as she sometimes stayed overnight with the Davies family. But when Mary showed the hat to Mrs Lewis she became extremely upset. When Mr Lewis saw the hat he immediately went out to search for his daughter.

It was Mr Lewis who found his daughter's body. Finding marks of something being dragged he followed them to an old hovel and Catherine's body was inside. Her throat had been cut. Apart from her hat the only thing missing was the glass and brass brooch. Suspicion of John Mapp was heightened when it was found that a patch of blood near the holly bush had been covered over with manure.

John Mapp lived nearby Summerhouse Lane with his parents. When the house was searched the brooch was found in his coat pocket and Mapp was arrested. There were also bloodstains on his trousers and coat which he claimed came from a nosebleed, and a bloodstained knife was later found in his home.

Mapp was tried on 23rd March at Shrewsbury Assizes before Sir Fitzroy Kelly. It took the jury very little time to find Mapp guilty and he was sentenced to death. Mapp was hanged at Shrewsbury on 9th April 1867.


Catherine Lewis, 9.





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