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Kill Total: 1 Kill place: London
Kill date:  27th August 1900 Victim(s): Sarah Willett
Date of Birth: unknown Marital Status: Single






There cannot be any more foolish place to commit a murder than right outside a police station, but that is precisely what John Charles Parr managed to do.

Parr and Sarah Willett had been engaged but in the summer of 1900, she had ended the relationship. She had discovered that Parr had been in prison for six months, for theft. There was also the fact that he had lied about his occupation. Parr had told her that he was a French Polisher when in fact he was not even in regular employment. Sarah found all these lies impossible to accept and Parr, in his turn, found the rejection unacceptable. He determined that drastic action was called for.

Two days before Sarah's death, on 24th August, Parr was in a pub with three women friends when he referred to his argument with Sarah. He drew a small revolver from his jacket and said that it was his intention to kill Sarah and himself. To further emphasise that his intentions were serious, he then fired the gun into the street shouting; "Instead of hearing of a marriage, you will hear of a burial." Rather surprisingly perhaps, this matter was not reported to the police.

On 27th August, Sarah Willett went with two girl-friends to the Forester's Music Hall in London's East End. Parr knew of this arrangement and turned up as well, asking Sarah to buy him a drink. When she refused, Parr simply picked up her glass and drained it. He then continued to annoy the group as much as he could.



It was obvious to the three women that Parr was looking for trouble and so, wishing to avoid a confrontation, Sarah and her friends; Emily Samson and Kate Burgess, left the music hall. Parr decided to follow them.

As the three girls walked down Bethnal Green Road, Parr stopped them again and demanded to know if Sarah would take him back. She refused, replying; "I don't want you. All I want is an honest, hard-working fellow - not one who robs others." She then pulled away from him and threatened to walk into the police station which was opposite to where they were now standing.

Parr told Sarah to go ahead and Sarah turned to do so, whereupon Parr drew out the revolver and shot her in the head. When a police officer ran out, on hearing the report, he found Parr with the gun still in his hand, shouting; "I have done it. I have done it."

When he was taken into the station for questioning, Parr exclaimed; " It is all her own fault, and she deserves it." Sarah was also taken into the police station in order to receive treatment, but died minutes later.

At his trial for murder, Parr tried to rely on a defence of insanity. Mister Biron referred to a history of madness within Parr's family and the fact that the prisoner himself had received a severe blow to the head, years ago, in an accident in a gymnasium. He further contended that the revolver, which was little more than a toy, had gone off by accident.

The jury were not swayed, returning a guilty verdict, but they did add a recommendation to mercy on account of Parr's yo
uth. Mercy was not given, he was hanged at Newgate on 2nd October 1900.