Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

9 articles on this Page




EXECUTION OF KOHL AT CHELMSFORD, Ferdinand Edward Karl Kohl has been executed at Chelmsford-gaol for the murder of Theodore Christian Fuhrhop, on the Plaistow-marshes. So recently have the particulars of this horrible murder been before our readers that it is unnecessary to repeat the facts con- nected with its perpetration. After his trial, which lasted a day and a half, although no witnesses were called for the defence, Kohl was committed to the custody of the Sheriff of the county of Essex, and conveyed to Chelmsford-gaol on the 12th inst. He was then handed over to the safe keeping of Captain Henry M'Gorrery, the courteous and universally respected governor of the gaol, whose vigilance was more than ordinarily called into re- quisition, consequent upon the obstreporous and violent disposition of his prisoner. Kohl, when sentence of death was passed upon him, was impressively warned that there was no hope for him in this world, and, indeed, so strong were the circumstances of the case against hire, that the public generally did not for a moment doubt his guil't, and, from the brutal nature of the murder there has not been an expression of commiseration uttered for the wretched man. This being so. Captain M'Gorrery, during the time Kohl was in his charge, did not lose an opportunity of assuring him that no efforts were being made for a respite, and further of impressing upon him the fact that the sentence of the law would most assuredly be carried out, believing that if he could once get him to realise the fact it might be the means of inducing him to confess. The laudable efforts, however, of this gentleman proved entirely fruitless, for all along the prisoner strenuously protested his nnocence, and when pushed to tell the truth, would in- dignantly and violently repudiate the charge. He argued that if he had been guilty he should have left the country; and again, he said that his case and that of Muller's were widely different, because, as he said, Mr. Brigga's things were found on Muller, nothing was found on me." While at Chelmsford he had an interview with his wife, and in re- ferring to the evidence that was adduced against him, he saidj *'Y&a know, my dear, that I was,apt in .the green- grocer's shop on the Saturday. Tou know that yombought the cabbages yourself." And upon inquiries subsequently made by Dr. Cappel, it was ascertained that the prisoner s wife did buy the cabbages spoken of on the trial, but the fact of the prisoner having been in the shop on that night was not disputed. During the prisoner's confinement at Chelms- ford he did not go to bed any night before twelve o'clock, and when asked why he failed to go earlier, he answered, Because I cannot sleep." He all along enjoyed his meals, and upon the whole was very cheerful, occasionally whist- ling and singing while exercising in the prison yard. But, notwithstanding this assumption of indifference to his posi- tion, which no doubt was prompted by the vain hope that it would tend to give him an air of innocence, he was by no means neglectful of his religious duties, as he frequently read Psalms and prayed aloud. The day before he was hung he" stood for his photograph, and afterwards, on going to his cell, said, "Come, let me have a good dinner to-dav; it is the last I shall have." And although he said this with a smile, he meant it, for after eating 4 ounces of bread, 16 ounces of potatoes, and 12 ounces of suet pudding (the ordinary high or fifth class diet), he expressed a desire for something more, and was served with a large mutton chop, which he ate with avidity. Soon after his dinner he remarked that his cocoa was nearly out, and that he hoped the warder would get some more for him. During the afternoon of Wednesday he frequently referred to the false evidence that had been adduced against him, and at intervals flew into violent passions, repeating the words, My heart and hands are as white as snow." Dr. Cappel visited the wretched man at six o'clook the night previous to the execution, and remained with him till half-past eight. During this interview the prisoner, when exhorted by the rev. gentleman to make a confession of his crime, became very violent, emphatically protesting his innocence, reiterating, My heart and hands are as white as snow." At times in this interval the violence of the prisoner was so excessive that not alone was it deemed expedient by the governor, but Dr. Cappel requested that a couple of warders should remain in the cell with him, in case the prisoner as- saulted him. Towards the end of the interview, how- ever, the prisoner became calmer, and then one of the warders was allowed to withdraw from the cell and keep watch outside. When Dr. Cappel left him he walked some time up and down his cell, and then asked for some cocoa and toast. This was supplied, and he appeared much to enjoy his repast. He then asked for a. sheet of paper to write a letter to his wife. He began to write, when Dr. Cappel returned to the cell, and read several parts of the Scriptures to him, concluding with a prayer, in which the prisoner seemed devoutly to join. Upon being again left to himself he resumed and finished, his letter to his wife. He afterwards read the Commandments and several prayers aloud, and lastly a letter written to him by his father, over which he wept bitterly. While thus weeping the prison clock struck the midnight hour. This seemed somewhat to arouse him from his grief, and with rather a determined air made an effort to drown it, and after a few moments' reflection he commenced to undress himself. After taking his coat off he knelt down by the side of the bed, and burying his face in his hands he prayed and sobbed aloud for some considerable time. He subsequently went to bed, asking one of the warders to call him at six o'clock in the morning. He fell asleep soon after twelve, and slept soundly till three. After this hour he became restless, turning and moaning at intervals during the remainder of the night. According to his request he was called at six o'clock. At a quarter-past he got up, washed and dressed himself, and then knelt and prayed for some time. He was asked if he would take any breakfast, but this he declined to do till he had seen Dr. Cappel, as he said he should like first to take the sacrament. At half- past six o'clock Dr. Cappel again visited the wretched man, and after warning him of his fast approaching end, exhorted him to confess his guilt. This he vehemently refused to do, repeating that his heart and hands were as white as snow." He also referred to some of the witnesses who appeared against him on his trial; declared they had perjured them- selves, and spoke in terms of great regret that his solicitor failed to call witnesses for his defence, or they, he said, would have proved him innocen5. Shortly bMore-eight o'clock ha,.sai -dowa-and partook of some breakfast, and appeared comparatively cheerful. Hav- ing finished his meal, he got up and walked hurriedly about his cell. Then he went on to protest his innocence, and finally became very excited, and fainted, falling upon his back. Restoratives were applied, and with the assistance of some six warders he was raised and supported upon his feet. Upon recovering his self-possession he again became violent, and, seizing a pen with which he had been writing, tried to thrust it down his throat. He, however, was prevented doing this; but, as it was, a portion of the pen penetrated the roof of his mouth. It evidently produced much pain, and he asked to have it taken out, but as it wanted but a few minutes to nine o'clock the warders refused to do so. The mournful procession, consisting of the Sheriff, the Under-Sherif, Dr. Cappel, the Rev. Mr. Hamilton, and the Governor of the gaol, and led off by the wretched man and Calcraft, who walked by his side, moved slowly to the press- room. JJere Kohl was pinioned. During the procession the prisoner who trembled violently and looked deadly pale, in answer to the unceasing exhortations of Dr. Cappel, firmly and emphatically protested his innocence. Some two minutes before nine o'clock the solemn knell of the prison bell indicated the approach of the prisoner to the scaf- fold and a minute afterwards he appeared under the fatal drop, which was erected over the prison gate. Here some slight delay took place, as he appeared as if he wished to turn his back to the people, and turned different ways before he was in the proper position to have the rope ad- justed. As soon as the rope was round his neck, he began to pray in German very loudly, uttering emphatically at the last moment, "I die an innocent man, so help my God and Jesus" The wretched man was then launched into eternity, amidst a shudder of horror from the assembled multitude. He struggled for some considerable time, and appeared to die very hard. His body, after hanging till ten o'clock was cut down and buried within the precincts of the prison. The multitude, although by no means vast, then quietly dispersed. It is due to Captain M'Gorrery, the governor of the ga'>l, to acknowledge the courtesy and readiness with which 'he afforded facilities for acquiring information, and to Super- intendents May and Thompson, of the Essex constabulaiTr, a word of praise is specially due for the admirable dis- position of their men, by which the strictest order was preserved. »

Cerebral Organisation oi Kohl.






[No title]