Notorious Sheffield killer Charlie Peace murdered a police officer and the husband of the woman he was trying to seduce
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Born in Sheffield in 1832, Peace had reputedly injured his leg whilst serving his apprenticeship at a rolling-mill in the city and turned to a life of crime.
In 1854, he was found guilty of multiple burglaries and sentenced to four years' penal servitude.
In 1859, he married a widow named Hannah Ward. Soon afterward, he committed a major burglary in Manchester, nearly killing a police officer who came to arrest him, and was sentenced to six years' penal servitude. A burglary in Lower Broughton, Salford earned him an eight-year sentence.
For a while afterwards, Peace seemed to ‘go straight’ but in 1876 he shot and killed a police officer in Manchester who was trying to arrest him for breaking into a house. Another man was initially found guilty of the crime after Peace fled back to Sheffield.
Once back in the city, he made the acquaintance of an engineer called Dyson and, although married, became obsessed with the man’s wife.
He began stalking the woman obsessively and would claim until the gallows that they were lovers - something the woman emphatically denied.
Eventually the Dysons were forced to move to another area of Sheffield, but Peace turned up with a revolver which he threatened Mrs Dyson with. In the ensuing altercation, her husband was shot and killed.
Straight away the balloon went up and police put a £100 price on Peace’s head, but he had fled by train to Hull where his wife kept an eating house, He spent the next two years on the run, often changing his appearance and even took a new mistress in Nottingham.
Eventually he landed in London and lived in the Peckham area, making regular trips to the wealthier suburb of Blackheath, where he would burgle houses.
It was here that he was eventually detained breaking into another house, again injuring a police officer.
Peace was tried at the Old Bailey for attempted murder and burglary and sentenced to a lifetime in the colonies, before being taken back to Sheffield where was tried for Dyson’s murder. Eventually he also confessed to the murder of the police officer in Manchester.
He was hanged at Armley Prison in 1879, aged 46. His crimes became so notorious that he featured in a special waxwork exhibit at Madame Tussaud’s, and is even mentioned by name in a Sherlock Holmes story.