Twenty one year old James Phipps was
an unemployed Winsford painter convicted of the murder of a schoolgirl.
On 12th October, ten year old Eliza Warburton was one
of a number of children playing on Station Road, Winsford, when they
were approached by Phipps who said that if one of them would fetch him
some cigarette. from a nearby shop he would give them tuppence. Eliza
volunteered. When she returned, Phipps asked her if she knew where there
was a local lamplighter and if she would show him the way.
At around 7.30pm, they were seen on a footpath
heading toward, some wasteland. Phipps had a white scarf tied over one
eye socket; he had lost the eye in a schoolyard accident many years
earlier. When he was next seen, an hour later, he was alone and minus
Eliza Warburton's father had been told of her errand,
and set out t find her when she failed to return home. He was
accompanied by a score of locals in the search, and they fortunately
came across Phipps on the path. Seeing the advancing crowd, he fled only
to be arrested by the police and held on suspicion.
In a cell, he confessed that he had been teased about
his missing eye and had stones thrown at him by a group of children. He
chased them caught hold of the girl, then drowned her in a shallow pool.
A search quickly revealed Eliza's body and Phipps was charged with
So intense was local feeling against him, his Chester
assizes trial before Mr Justice Lawrence was convened for 19 October,
barely a wee,' after the crime. He pleaded not guilty through insanity.
The prosecution claimed that he had lured Eliza into the field and after
sexually assaulting her, knocked her into a ditch and drowned her in a
pool of muddy water. His defence claimed that his story about the
children teasing him was false but argued that the lies were concurrent
with the symptoms of insanity.
The jury took only seven minutes to find him guilty,
and exactly one month after the murder he was hanged by Henry and Thomas
Pierrepoint on the 12th November 1908 in Knutsford.
November 11, 1908 Ė James Phipps
One-eyed monster, James Phipps was hanged for
murdering a little girl in 1908.
He was sentenced to death for killing 10-year-old
Emily Warburton. Phipps apparently asked the little girl (who was
playing with a group of friends) if she could get him some cigarettes.
The 21-year-old then took her along a towpath in
search of a lamplighter to light his fag. He was distinctive because he
had a white scarf over one eye after he lost it in an accident at school.
So inevitably, when Phipps was seen with her, people instantly
When her father found out about her encounter, he
went looking for her, and quite a crowd had gathered to help. Her
drowned body turned up with his white scarf around her neck, and when
they saw Phipps in the area, he felt compelled to leg it. But the police
caught him and he is said to have confessed that kids had made fun of
him because his missing eye.
Phipps allegedly chased after them and caught Emily,
who he promptly drowned. Of course the story didnít wash with the jury
and they took just 7 minutes to unanimously decide he was going down for
his crime. Phipps was hanged in 1908 by Henry and Thomas Pierrepoint at