Sarah Malcolm

Sarah Malcolm
AKATemple Murders
Kill Total3
Kill PlaceLiverpool
Kill Date3 Feb 1733
VictimAnn Price

Elizabeth Harrison

Lydia Duncomb
Sarah Malcolm was born in County Durham in 1710. Her father ran into money diffficulties and the family moved to Dublin since her mother was Irish and able to acquire accommodation and work there.
As a young woman Sarah moved to London  She got work serving in a public house, the "Black Horse"  near Temple Bar. s To supplement her income she also became a laundress to a number of residents who lodged in chambers above the Inns of Court in the Temple. She subsequently made friends with Mary Tracey, and her friends, the young brothers James and Thomas Alexander. They often pressed Sarah to cheat and steal from her employers since she had easy access to the places where they lived.

Sarah eventually agreed to assist them to rob a lodger in one of the Temple chambers, a rich, 80-year-old woman, Mrs Lydia Duncomb, for whom Sarah had worked in the past. Mrs Duncomb shared her lodgings with 60-year-old Mrs Harrison, and her young servant, 26-year-old Ann Price.

4th of February 1733, late that night, Sarah managed to sneak the Alexanders into Mrs Duncombe's lodging where they hid until the all were asleep. They then let Mary Tracey in while Sarah remained on the stairs as lookout. She insisted she remained there until the other three came out with their booty - £300 worth of currency, silverware and other items. Then they went outside to share out their gains.

The dead bodies of the three women were discovered the following afternoon.  A friend of Mrs. Duncomb had called and got no answer, she raised the alarm. a locksmith was called, and it was Sarah Malcolm who was the first to enter.
Mrs. Duncomb's body was found lying on her bed she had been strangled.
Ann Price's throat had been slit in a savage manner and the older women had been strangled. The apartment had been completely stripped of anything of value, and the strongbox had been forced open and emptied.

When Sarah's master, Kerrel, found a silver tankard and blood stained clothing in her room, he called the police and she was taken into custody. (Tracey and the Alexanders were also apprehended and held, but after Sarah's death they were released without charge.)

A neighbour, who also used Sarah's services came home on the Sunday lunchtime, and found Sarah in his room, he was surprised to see her there at that time and asked her to leave. after she had gone he checked his room, found some of his things missing, and also discovered a blood stained tankard.
Suspicion was now placed upon Sarah and the police were called. When Sarah was searched as she entered Newgate prison on the Monday morning she was found to have a large amount of gold and silver coins on her. She also had a purse hidden in her bra, containing a large amount of money, she claimed the money and coins had been found in the street.

Friday 23rd February 1733, Trial at the old Bailey in London,
The  court indictment against her read:
“Sarah Malcolm, alias Mallcombe was indicted for the Murder of Ann Price, Spinster, by wilfully and maliciously giving her with a Knife one mortal Wound on the Throat, of the length of two Inches, and depth of one Inch, on the 4th of February instant, of which wound the said Anne Price instantly died.
She was a second time indicted for the Murder of Elizabeth Harrison, spinster, by strangling and choking her with a cord, on the said 4th of February; by reason of which strangling and choking the said Elizabeth Harrison instantly died.
She was a third time indicted for the Murder of Lydia Duncomb , Widow, by strangling and choking her with a Cord, on the said 4th of February, by which Strangling and Choking the said Lydia Duncomb instantly died.
She was again indicted for breaking and entering the dwelling-house of Lydia Duncomb , Widow, and stealing 20 Moidores, (Spanish gold coins valued at 27 shillings each) 18 Guineas, one Broad-Piece, value 25 s. 4 Broad-Pieces, value 23 s. each, one half Broad-Piece, value 11 s. 6 d. 25 s. in Silver, a Silver Tankard, Value 40 s. a Canvas Bag, Value 1d. and two Smocks, value 12s. on the 4th day of February instant, about the hour of 2 in the night of the same day.”

Sarah pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.
All were capital offences, so it was decided to proceed only with the murder of Ann price to save court time and money.
She claimed that she had indeed been there, for the purpose of robbery, and that the accomplices must have committed the murders when she was not looking. She demanded the return to her of the money and coins she had found.

she was found guilty and sentenced to death.
She returned to Newgate to await execution. It was common practice at the time to carry out the execution close to where the crime had been committed.
Newgate’s portable gallows was set up in Fleet Street, in the square opposite Mitre Court

Wednesday 7th of March 1733, Sarah Malcolm was executed by executioner John Hooper.