Home Crime Murder Wife Murder at Wombwell – Inquest

Wife Murder at Wombwell – Inquest

March 1887

Leeds Times, Saturday, March 26, 1887

Wife Murder near Barnsley

The inquest was held at new Wombwell on Thursday, Superintendent Kane was present, and Mr E.J. Rideal, Barnsley, watched the case for prisoner, who was present.

Doctor J.N. Miller, Wombwell, who had made an examination of the body said he found large abrasions on the chin, right cheek, right and left temples, and above the left eye. There were on the face two contused wounds about half an inch long, and a similar wound about the right eye. There was a severe contused wound about 2 inches above the right eye and to the front of the right ear. On the back of the head there was another scalp wound, about an inch long. The chest was a mass of contused blood, and on the legs were 16 marks as if made by a blunt instrument. There was a depression in the skull at the place corresponding to the severest outward wound on the right side of the head, and there was blood at different places between the scalp and the skull. Two of the ribs on the left eye were broken and protruding into the cavity of the thorax, while the end of one penetrated the lungs and inch. On the right side to ribs were broken.

In his opinion the cause of death of concussion of the brain and injury to the lungs. The wounds on the head might have been caused by a violent fall, but the injury to the ribs could only have been done by a blunt instrument. Three falls would scarcely account for all the wounds on the head. All the wounds appeared to have been inflicted immediately preceding death and at the same time.

John Hyde, miner, Wombwell, deposed that on Sunday afternoon he and other men went to prison as out, taking with them 2 gallons of beer. Prisoner’s wife, standing at the door, told them she would not have them in. Prisoner said he was master there and they all went inside. The woman and her husband drank some of the beer. They had 6 gallons altogether. All of them were about drunk. When they had finished the beer prisoner ordered his life to go to bed and she did. A man named Leather and four or five others, including witness, followed her up. Prisoner, who was sitting in a chair, sprang up, saying, “There’s summat wrong,” and went upstairs. He brought his wife down, and ordered the men out. Prisoner and his wife were “fresh” when witness left the house. They were having loud words. He heard prisoner charge his wife with misconduct, but she made no reply.

Sarah Rhodes, wife of George Rhodes, collier, Wombwell, said that about six on Sunday evening she saw prisoner come out of the house and walk across the road. His wife followed him in about a minute and seized him by the neck. Witness heard a curse and time to comment. He entered the house with her and locked the door. Almost immediately the woman screamed out, “Oh, Charlie, don’t!” Witness heard a noise as if chairs would be knocked about.

George Finney, collier, Wombwell, said that on Sunday night he saw prisoner standing in the doorway of his house. The door was wide open. Witness could see the woman lying on the floor. Witness heard her say, “I have done nothing wrong.” Prisoner replied that she had done nothing right, at the same time using foul language. She called out, “Oh, murder!” Prisoner said he would give her “murder.” He went into the house, and witness it sounds which led him to think that he was kicking her. He believed prisoner kicked his wife six or seven times. After that everything was quiet.

William Hazelhurst, miner, brother of prisoner, deposed that the latter, on Sunday night, said he had “killed Mary Ann,” but he did not remember anything about it. Prisoner’s wife bore a bad character, and had lived with eight different men.

Police constable Williams deposed to apprehending prisoner, who said that he had found men with his wife, and that was enough to make a man do anything. On the way to the station he said he had thrown her downstairs, and afterwards kicked her.

The jury, after a short consultation, returned a verdict of wilful murder against Hazelhurst, who was committed to trial at the Assizes.