THE skull of the last person to be executed in York was stolen on New Years Day and was later returned after police found it mounted above a fireplace.

The incident reportedly took place at around 1.05am on Saturday January 1 when the skull was stolen from the historic Golden Fleece pub in the city.

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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 kavesmire and the head of Elizabeth has since lived on the wall in the Golden Fleece pub.

When staff in the pub noticed Elizabeth was missing, they launched their own investigation on social media posting an appeal for the skull to be returned.

The appeal was unsuccessful, but the pub staff had a clear CCTV image of the suspect and then contacted police.

Officers say they launched an investigation and used the pub CCTV and CCTV in the city to identify the suspect.

A man in his 20s immediately admitted the theft and proceeded to show police his fireplace where Elizabeth’s head was sat on top.

According to police, the officers were “delighted” to be able to return Elizabeth back to where she belongs, and the offender was dealt with via an out of court disposal and has since wrote a letter of apology.

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PC Davies, who investigated the offence 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.”


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