The Execution of Lorraine Lax - Armley January 1926 -
After the Inquest into the death of Lizzie, Lorraine made a brief appearance in the Sheffield Police Court where he was committed for trial at the next Assizes. These were held in Leeds before a Mr. Justice Fraser. Details of the trial as it was reported in the Sheffield Daily Telegraph dated 2nd December 1925 are as follows
The Yorkshire Evening Post dated Tuesday 1st December 1925 posted this report on the proceedings
The Yorkshire Post dated wednesday 2nd December 1925 had this report
From the reports of the trial the one interesting point to note is that no mention is made of drunkenness and gambling. As Lorraine stated "that when he got low wages there became trouble between himself and his wife, and when his wife was expecting a baby she was always more difficult to get on with". This seems a far more plausible explanation that that put forward by his sister in law Alice Gardiner at the inquest.
After the end of the Great War, there was a period of acute adjustment as the war economy gave way to a peacetime economy. Sheffield and its industries had done well out of government contracts for munitions and equipment, contracts that came to an abrupt end in 1919. The resultant contraction in the Sheffield economy was swift and severe, with ever increasing numbers of unemployed men. Even those in work suffered cuts in pay and short time working. Lorraine's family circumstances were not unique, millions were in the same boat. But I think one of the main factors that put a strain on the marriage was the very uncertainty attached to the availability of work. Even when work was available at Lorraine's local pit at Birley, Lorraine faced a long and tiresome journey to work and back. When there was no work at the pit, there were no alternative opportunities available to him and many others. Quite a vicious circle.
The guilty verdict left Mr. Justice Fraser with no option to pronounce the mandatory death sentence
"Lorraine Lax, you are sentenced to be taken hence to the prison in which you were last confined and from there to a place of execution where you will be haonged by the neck until dead and thereafter your body buried within the precincts of the prison and may the Lord have mercy upon your soul".
Lorraine through his legal team did appeal against the sentence.
The Appeal of Lorraine Lax
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