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Double murderer Rasmus Pedersen Mørke

On a bitterly cold January day in 1881 at 8.36 on Klejtrup field, in the presence of approx. 6000 people, Rasmus Pedersen was led to the scaffold and executed with an axe. He was calm and left the crowd silent.

The execution was the final culmination of a bloody and violent double murder of retail dealer Peder Pedersen and his farmhand Anders Bødker.

Rasmus was born 27 September 1841 and grew up in miserable conditions and as a result he had various convictions for violence. In the parish register, it was noted about his father that he was serving a sentence for theft.

Rasmus barely got through life. He worked on various farms , but never had enough money , as he was fond of brandy.

Peder Pedersen was quite wealthy. Amongst other things, he earned well lending money to the owners of farms in the region. He supposedly owned part of several farms in the area.

Rasmus knew Pedersen well and had repeatedly borrowed money from him and stayed on the farm. 3 days before the murders Rasmus once again stayed on the farm. The next 3 days Rasmus flickered around haphazardly, but ended up in chandler Pedersen's warehouse where he kept some spirits. What motive was for the murders, we can only speculate, but Rasmus ended up back on the farm with a mallet, very drunk and with memory loss. Consequently two people died.

Rasmus then stole 326 , a savings bank book , some securities as well as some of the chandlers clothing and then attempted to set fire to the farm. This failed.

On July 3, Rasmus was apprehended in clothes from the chandler, his savings bank book and 100 d. kr. Despite overwhelming evidence Rasmus denied the double murder. Rasmus tried several times to escape and commit suicide but finally made a full confession on September 19, 1879 and by doing so cleared Niels Andersen as an accomplice. He confessed to the murders being planned and the sole reason was money. Rasmus managed to escape but he soon realized that he could not stay hidden forever I saw a gatekeeper and his family , he had previously served with , as a way to let them get the bounty for his return . This gesture was seen as mitigating and Dean Hansen and Dr Magnus sought pardon, but without success. The dean continued to visit Rasmus and said that Rasmus died as a repentant and believing Christian. Rasmus was buried in a simple pine coffin on Klejtrup cemetery, without ceremony and priest, but in consecrated ground.

Rasmus Mørke
Brattingsborg where the murders took place
Rasmus Mørke
The priest who visited Rasmus Mørke while waiting for execution