The Strange Death of Arthur Allen - Sheffield 22nd November 1866

In the Burial records of Sheffield's General Cemetery, there is the following record  

Burial no: 13421 Grave no: Q 44 Death Date: 22 November 1866 Burial Date: 24 November 1866 Name: Arthur Allen Age: 15 Cause of Death: -  Description: -  Birthplace: -  Residence: Fargate (Sheffield) Parents:  - Informant: -  Minister: James P Gladstone Burial type: unconsecrated.

Superficially it is just another burial but the circumstances of Arthur's death are rather curious to say the least. I should add that the first report of Arthur's death appears in the Leeds Mercury dated 21st November 1866, and refers to his "dreadful murder the previous day - 20th November 1866". The burial record states that Arthur died on 22nd. If you read the report Arthur was not murdered on the 20th but rendered unconscious by the assailant Henry Gabbitas. His injuries were extremely severe and it was no surprise that he died two days later on the 22nd

The report in the Leeds Mercury under the title "DREADFUL MURDER BY A BOY AT SHEFFIELD" gave the following report on a "horrible and most singular crime". The same report appeared in the Birmingham Daily Post but a day later


On the same day - 23rd November 1866, the Manchester Guardian's report added further details about Arthur's death and his assailants disposition

More information was supplied two days later in The Hull Packet and East Riding Times (23rd November 1866) - Henry Gabbitas the alleged murderer was from Hull

The Manchester Times dated 24th November 1866 gave details of the Inquest and the charges that Henry Gabbitas faced 

The case was sent to next Assizes at Leeds and was heard on 18th December 1866, a month after the fatality. A report of the trial appears in The Scotsman dated 19th December 1866

It was very rare that judges break down when sentencing a person to death but break down he did. Henry Gabbitas on the other hand was not fazed one bit seems to have disassociated himself from the proceedings. Anyway the sentence was not carried out and so I assume that the Home Secretary had accepted the juries recommendation for mercy. I do not know how long Henry served in prison but Arthur's grave is no longer visible     


Leeds Mercury dated 21st November 1866

Birmingham Daily Post dated 22nd November 1866

The Hull Packet and East Riding Times dated 23rd November 1866

Manchester Guardian dated 23rd November 1866

The Manchester Times dated 24th November 1866

The Scotsman dated 19th December 1866

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This page was last updated on 30/06/09 09:22