case of 'murder by request'
Adams was 17-years-old in 1919 and had been
befriended on a Thameside bench by 60-year-old George Jones. Jones had
taken the young man in and had bought him meals and drinks. The pair
were drinking in a pub in Tooting on the evening of 10th June 1919 with
a third man, Charlie Smith. The three of them left together.
way home Adams stabbed Jones with a shoemaker's awl, three times in the
chest and three times in the throat. Jones was found wandering around
covered in blood and was taken to hospital. Before he died, three days
later, he told police that he had no idea why Adams had attacked him.
arrested. His story was that Jones had told him that he was worried
about a huge tax bill he had received and that he could not pay.
According to Adams, Jones had asked the younger man to kill him. He had
thought about the request for a week and had then agreed. As they walked
home they passed through Sutton park and Jones had removed his hat and
coat. He had laid down and given Adams the awl, telling him to stab in
the left side of the neck.
After he had stabbed the man several times he
had taken the man's shirt and wrapped it around the wounds to try and
staunch the flow of blood. He had then taken the man's money and left
with Smith who had said and done nothing throughout. Despite extensive
enquiries the police could find no trace of Charlie Smith to corroborate
the story and Adams was charged with murder.
His trial took place at
Guildford Assizes in July 1919. The jury disbelieved his story, found
him guilty and he was duly sentenced to death. The sentence was later
commuted by Home Secretary, Edward Shortt, to life imprisonment.