Edwards was perhaps his own worst enemy. He drew attention to himself by
being arrested in London in 1902 for attacking a man with a lead
When he was searched business cards were found on him with
the name of John W. Darby, a grocer of Camberwell.
This made the police
suspicious and when they tried to contact the Darby family they found
that they were missing and that their shop was virtually empty. They
also found a blood-stained, 8lb sash-weight. This was just too much of a
coincidence and resulted in a full blown investigation.
had recently rented a house in Leyton and when questioned the neighbours
said they had noticed him digging deep trenches in the garden. This was
enough for the police and they moved in and excavated the whole garden.
What their search revealed were the dismembered bodies of the Darby
family, John and his wife, both in their twenties, and their
ten-week-old daughter. Both adults had been battered to death while
Ethel Beatrice had been strangled.
that the Darby's had wanted to sell their shop and had placed an
advertisment which Edwards had answered. A meeting was agreed and having
been shown around the shop Edwards asked to see the books.
stayed down in the shop while his wife with their 10 week old daughter
in her arms tooks Edwards upstairs to see the accounts. Once alone he
produced the lead sash weight and struck her over the back of the head
with it crushing her skull. He then calmly strangled the little girl. He
called to John Darby to come upstairs where he gave him the same
treatment. The room look like a slaugherhouse with blood splashed over
He emptied the till and over a period of time slowly sold off
all the stock in the shop. His motive was simply greed and he might have
got away with it had he not tried a repeat performance.
was tried at the Old Bailey in February 1903 and his defence was one of
insanity, of which there seemed to be an abundant history in his family.
His plea was not accepted and he was found guilty and sentenced to
remarks to the chaplain on the scaffold, on 3rd March 1903, would seem
to suggest that perhaps his plea of insanity should have been accepted
by the court.
He is recorded as saying, I've been looking forward to
this lot! He was not to be disappointed and his life was ended at Wandsworth prison by William Billington.