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Hoddesdon Ripper


Kill Total: 2

Kill date:


Kill Place:

Hoddesdon - Hertfordshire




Brewery Worker


Mrs. Warner

 Mrs. Hammerstone





Case No:  











Simmons had been working and living at a house in Hoddesdon for a local family, the Boreham's, He could have had a good future, but instead he abused other staff and servants male and female alike, and on more than one occasion was suspected of stealing.
He formed a relationship with one of the female staff - Elizabeth Harris, but shortly after was sacked, when Mr Boreham felt they could cope no longer with his abusive behaviour. Miss Harris, valued her job and broke off the relationship, Simmons blamed Boreham for the breakdown of his relationship, and in a drunken state would visit the house regularly, demanding to see Elizabeth, she would not see him and he was taken from the house by staff.
On 29th October 1807, Boreham had organised a party for family and friends. Later in the evening they heard noise from the back of the house, they looked out the window only to see Simmons shouting and generally causing a nuisance. Elizabeth Harris also looked out from an upstairs window, Scared she decided to hide in the scullery, Simmons had seen her and rushed to the door, she stood behind it and refused to let hi in.
Simmons started shouting obscenities at all in the house, Mrs Hammerstone, a local pub landlady who was used to dealing with drunks came and stood next to Elizabeth Harris, she stood frozen to the spot as she watched Simmons burst through the door, go past Elizabeth and lunge with a long knife straight towards her. He stabbed her several times in the throat, and actually took time to open up her throat completely, she fell to the floor bleeding fatally, as Simmons rushed into the parlour where the rest of the party guests were. He at first threatened them all, then grabbed Boreham's daughter Mrs. Warner, stabbing her repeatedly in the throat and chest. The rest of the guests ran to upstairs rooms to escape Simmons, a female servant bravely lunged at him, he arm and hand were badly cut, but she escaped into the street, shouting "Murder" at the top of her voice, this awoke others in the village, who came into the street to see what was going on, realizing he was in trouble Simmons ran through the house, running into the back yard and hiding in a barn.
The men of the village searched for Simmons, he suddenly appeared, unarmed and calmly saying he would do as he was told. He was marched back into the town where he was led to the pub, and tied up, there he remained till the following morning. When the pub landlord visited Simmons in the morning he found that the ligatures had been done so tight, and that he received many beatings during the night, Simmons was closer to death, Fairfax, the publican, called the local constable, and the two of them ensured that Simmons would live to face his fate. Simmons went before magistrates, was charged with murder, and sent to Hertford Jail.
He stood trial on 4th March 1808, was only found guilty of one murder, as the Boreham family, who were Quakers refused to press charges. the jury had no doubt, found him guilty, he was sentenced to death and executed on 7th March 1808 at Hertford prison.



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