Alexander Arthur Mackay became the second person to be executed in private and the first at Newgate.
18 year old
Mackay was employed by George Grossmith as a waiter
and general servant at his eating house at No. 11 Artillery Passage,
able to escape from
He appeared at the Old Bailey before Mr. Justice Lush on the 17th of August and had the benefit of two defence counsel, Messrs Ribton and Cunningham. Some of the Grossmith’s neighbours gave evidence of hearing a commotion around 9.30am and of hearing Emma cry out “Oh don't” and another gave evidence of a bloodied Mackay escaping. Surgeon John Jackson who had attended Emma gave evidence of the crime scene and her horrific injuries.
Mackay was convicted but the jury recommended him to mercy on account of his age, eighteen at the time of the crime. His 19th birthday occurred between the times of the crime and his execution. The Home Secretary, Earl Cranbrook, saw no reason for a reprieve and Tuesday the 8th of September was the date set for execution.
Newgate’s gallows was erected in a corner of an enclosed yard near the Chapel, and was described as consisting of two vertical beams some 12 - 14 feet high with a cross beam from which an iron chain was suspended. Beneath the this was a scaffold concealed by sheeting and reached by a few steps. The hanging was attended by the Governor, Mr. Jonas, the Ordinary, the Rev. Mr. Jones, Mr. Gibson the prison surgeon, the sheriff and two under sheriff and representatives of the press. A little before , Mackay was led from the condemned cell through a passage that opened into the yard supported by the Ordinary and ascended the steps up onto the platform where he joined in with Mr. Jones' prayers. Only he, Mr. Jones and William Calcraft were present on the drop, there being no warders to support Mackay. Calcraft pulled the lever and Mackay dropped the customary 12 - 18 inches and after several convulsive struggles lasting some two minutes, became still, according to contemporary newspaper reports. The black flag was raised over the prison after the trap had opened and the bell of St. Sepulchres Church tolled. His body was left hanging for an hour before being taken down and prepared for the formal inquest, which took place that afternoon. It was noted that his face bore a calm expression which as a warder noted was not usual.
was held by Deputy Coroner, Mr. W. H. Payne sitting with 21 jurors from the
Mackay was then buried in an unmarked grave within the prison.