Police officers in York return a stolen skull to its home in one of the city’s most historic public houses.
The new year brought an unusual challenge for police. At approximately 01.05am on Saturday 01 January 2022 the skull of the last person to be executed in York was stolen from the historic Golden Fleece pub in the city.
(The skull that was stolen from The Golden Fleece in York)
In 1800, Elizabeth Johnson was found guilty of uttering a forged £1 bank note with intent to defraud the Bank Of England. The punishment for committing this crime was a hanging on the knavesmire. The head of Elizabeth has since lived on the wall in the Golden Fleece public house.
When staff in the pub noticed that Elizabeth was missing, they launched their own investigation on social media posting an appeal for skull to be returned. This appeal was unsuccessful, but the pub staff had a clear CCTV image of the suspect and contacted the police.
(PC David Young and PC Bill Davies)
Officers launched an investigation and used the pub CCTV as well as CCTV in the city to identify the suspect. A man in his twenties immediately admitted the theft and proceeded to show police to his fireplace where Elizabeths head was sat on top.
The officers were delighted to be able to return Elizabeth back to where she belongs, the Golden Fleece pub. The offender has been dealt with via a out of court disposal and has since wrote a letter of apology.
(PC Bill Davies outside The Golden Fleece in York)
PC Davies, who investigated the offence with his tutor is seven weeks into his policing career. He said:
“Before joining the police I was advised that no two days will ever be the same. This crime has certainly confirmed this.
“It was an interesting crime to investigate and at the same time has improved my knowledge on local history.
“I am chuffed that we were successful in identifying the offender and returning the stolen property.”