Thursday, 21 August 2014

The Execution of Ben Benson

Here we go with one of those obscure murders that resulted in execution for a none high profile case.  Whilst the murder was committed, Europe was in the approaching end to the Great War, so murders were relegated to tiny pieces in the newspapers.  The motive for the murder was pure jealousy and anger.  Anne Mayne had married Charles, but she had a problem.  She always wanted a man in her bed.  Today she would be called a sex maniac, or "addict.2  One day, Charlie came home to find her in bed with his boss, Ben Benson.  Charlie packed his belongings and moved out.  Anne decided to move in with Benson, but in 1916, he was shipped abroad to France.  Despite her lover putting his life on the line, she carried on entertaining men in his absence, but was discreet when he returned home on leave.  Until he came home in August 1918.  He was not expected home.

    Anne walked into their Hunslet home with a young soldier on 27th August 1918, but both were too drunk to notice Benson in the house.  Naturally, they set a course for the bedroom, in which an infuriated Benson walked in to find them at it solidly.  He chased the young man from the house and he confronted Anne about her behaviour.  They slept apart that night.  But events turned extremely nasty the following morning when Anne received two letters in the post.  Benson demanded to know who they were from, but Anne refused to say anything.  Benson snapped and struck his wife, but she just laughed and said she would be bedding other men when he goes back to the Army.  Benson blew a fuse, grabbed a razor from the kitchen and slashed her throat.  She died shortly afterwards in hospital and Benson was arrested and charged with murder.  The only defence he had was provocation but that was never going to save him.  Convicted and condemned, he was executed at Armley Prison, Leeds, on January 7th 1919 by Tom Pierrepoint.