Powertalk speech contest 2017
Subject: Tying the Knot
Category: Research speech, from primary sources
Title: An account of the first murder on British Railways
The First Murder on British Railways
The case caused widespread consternation in Britain,appeals even made to the royal family for clemency. It was 1864. Many new technological advances were used for the first time to catch the perpetrator - telegraph, photograph, steamship. The trial still holds the record for the fastest verdict reached - fifteen minutes. The public hanging was one of the last in Britain.
Thomas Briggs, who was bashed over the head, robbed, thrown out of a train and left for dead in the first murder on British Rail, was my great-great grandfather. Even worse, the attack happened in a first-class carriage, a place where the public felt, “at least, they should have been safe.” The murder of Briggsy, as the family called him, and the pursuit of the perpetrator, obsessed the nation and created ripples in Germany. The largest crowd London had ever seen later watched the public hanging of the killer.