Leeds Times, Saturday, March 26, 1887
Wife Murder at Wombwell Junction
A terrible tragedy was enacted on Sunday at Wombwell Junction, near Barnsley, the surrounds of which are painful, and show a low state of morality.
On Sunday afternoon, after the public house had closed, Isaac Hazelhurst, employed at Cottonwood Colliery, invited several companions to his house. The party took with them a supplier of beer, and drank until it was consumed. Soon after six, Hazelhurst went to an adjoining public house for a fresh supply of drink, leaving his wife were been drinking with them, in the house. On his return she was absent, and so was a man named Leather, hurrier at Cottonwood Colliery. Hazelhurst inquired about his wife, receiving a signal from the men that she was upstairs. Reaching the bedroom he found her there with Leather.
An altercation ensued, and Hazelhurst sent all the men out of the house. What followed is only known to prisoner, who was in drink. A struggle between prisoner and his wife took place upstairs, for the bedstead is twisted. Coming downstairs Hazelhurst knocked his wife onto the floor, and kicked on the head. Leaving her downstairs he went to bed and does not seem to have a woke until about four in the morning, when he was horrified to find his wife lying dead in front of the fire. When he discovered that she was lifeless, he rushed his brother’s house, and told him what had occurred. Hazelhurst brother went to the police station and informed Sergeant Williams. The officer proceeded to Wombwell junction and apprehended Hazelhurst, whom he conveyed to Barnsley police station. Hazelhurst was brought up at Barnsley, on Monday, charged with the murder of his wife, Mary and Hazelhurst on Sunday night.
Superintendent Kane stated the facts of the case, and ask for a remand until Monday which was granted.
The accused was dejected. It is stated that the bedroom in which the scene between the accused and his wife is supposed to have taken place has no furniture in it beyond the bed and a box or two. The iron frame of the bedstead is bent down. There is no hand rail protection at the end of the stairs, and as the steps are stone it is easy to concede that deceased, thrown down the stairs while under the influence of drink, might have fallen with her head on the edge of the step. A clot of blood on the fifth step from the bedroom’s favour the idea that she struck on that step with her left temple. It is suggested that she then crawled role downstairs, as there is blood on every step below, on the floor at the foot of the stairs, as was only has, where she died. There are five bruises on the face. None of them are serious except that on the left temple.
The post-mortem examination of deceased shows that the face was a mass of bruises, and near the left temple was a deep wound. There is no doubt that deceased was kicked on the face and the body. Death must have resulted soon after the assault.
The furniture in the house was new, having been obtained on the hire system from Rotherham, and is not fully paid for. The and was recently re-formed, the husband having been in lodgings, and the wife living with another man in the village – a custom she had acted upon seven or eight times during the 14 years of their wedding life.
A marriage certificate of the couple says that Isaac Hayes was (26), bachelor, was married to Mary Anne Wrafe (21), spinster at Pinkston Parish Church on October 12, 1873. The certificate was taken possession of by William Hazelhurst, Wombwell, brother of deceased, a sergeant in the Salvation Army. Hazelhurst had vowed he would not live with deceased again. Yet, towards the end of last October he sought her out, and, throwing a silk handkerchief about her neck, he kissed her, and urged her affectionately to come again and live with him, and, as he expressed it, behave herself. She went with him, he furnished again a home, and they lived together until Sunday. He said that deceased mother was of intemperate habits and died from violence at Darfield, the verdict being “Died from abscess on the brain, probably cause from violence.” When deceased last rejoined her husband she made an attempt towards leading a different life. Her husband, being a member of the Salvation Army at the time persuaded her to join. The members of the army paid them attention and tried to reform the unhappy pair; but the woman fell again into the old slough in which she had lived so long, and her madly infatuated husband following her along the downward course.
Much sympathy is felt for this so-called murderer, who has tried again and again to lead a better life. He feels this position keenly, is thinking less of himself than of his dead wife.